The rumor is that Ange Postecoglou cancelled the standard pre-match press conference ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s friendly against Shakhtar Donetsk because he was tired of addressing Harry Kane’s ongoing transfer saga with Bayern Munich. But there was no getting away from Harry Kane talk in the post-match presser.
Kane started and scored four goals against the visitors in Sunday’s 5-1 charity friendly win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before taking a lap of the ground thanking supporters. Naturally, the main question on everyone’s mind is was this the last time we’ll see Kane in a Spurs shirt? If so, it’s a heck of a way to go out, but Postecoglou again tried to distance himself from the ongoing swirl of rumor and news. And yes, he said he would absolutely use Kane if he was available for next weekend’s Premier League opener at Brentford.
“Yeah, I don’t think [professionalism] has ever been in question about Harry. His whole career he has shown that. He was good today and the majority of our stuff was fairly positive. Obviously still got a fair few things to work on.
“From my perspective I don’t know what ‘deadlines’ means. We know there’s one deadline and that’s the end of the transfer window. Beyond that, I’m in open dialogue with Harry and with the club on a regular basis. I’ve said to them that if the status quo changes then inform me. I don’t need to know about the comings and goings in between. I just want to deal with what’s in front of me because I’ve got to still, irrespective of the outcome of that, I’m building a team here.
“I can’t wait for a decision either way to get going. We don’t have the time or the luxury to do that. I’m working with what’s in front of me. You saw today that Harry certainly is invested in what we’re doing and we’ll keep on doing that unless something changes.
“There’s no doubt that I would use Harry, I don’t need today to tell me that. He’s a fantastic striker, one of the world’s best. I think the way the team plays will help him as well. He loves scoring goals and you saw today we created a load of chances and he was the beneficiary of that.
There’s no getting away from Harry Kane, especially after a performance in which he scores four goals, something he hasn’t done since a 6-1 drubbing of Leicester City in 2017. Bayern Munich’s pursuit has been extremely public and at times bordering on unprofessional, but when asked Ange tried to take the high road, but in the most Ange way possible with a hilarious and backhanded statement.
“I don’t have a view either way mate. That’s up to Bayern to decide. If that’s the way they want to conduct things, it’s not up to me to judge that. It doesn’t affect me. I don’t sit there on a daily basis and worry about what other clubs are doing.
“I think what is factual right now is that he is a contracted player of our football club. I certainly wouldn’t talk about contracted players at other football clubs but I’m not at Bayern mate so they can go the way they want.”
Micky van de Ven, whom Spurs entered into an agreement to sign on Friday from Wolfsburg, was in the stands to watch his new team play for the first time. Van de Ven will have a medical on Monday ahead of his formal signing early next week. Ange didn’t talk specifically about van de Ven but did state in no uncertain terms that the defense needs help and that he hopes there will be additional reinforcements in that area.
“Well like you said [Van de Ven’s signing] hasn’t been done yet so it’s not right for me to talk about but there’s no doubt we need some bolstering in that central defensive area. We’re looking for players that can play the kind of football we want.
We need defenders who are going to be able to work in an aggressive formation, be able to defend really well one vs one and the space in behind. Hopefully we’ll get one or two done in the next couple of days to bolster us in that area.
“We signed young Ashley Phillips on Friday and he’ll train with the first team. We hopefully have another couple coming in over the next couple of days. All those kind of things are part of the planning and I’ll deal with the team for Brentford at the back end of the week.”
One of the through-lines in every Postecoglou’s press conference since he joined the club is that the team still needs a lot of work to get to where he wants and needs them to be. That was the case on Sunday as well, with Ange dropping the anecdote that he kept his team in the locker room at halftime for longer than usual because he wasn’t happy with the way the half ended.
“It’s not a reflection on the players, it’s just where we’re at. I think we’re doing a lot of things where it’s because I’m telling them to do it rather than belief. I really wasn’t happy with that last five or six minutes of the first half, we were just playing for 1-0, that doesn’t sit well with me.
“I don’t blame the players because they’re going at the moment through my guidance but it shows me we still have a lot of work to do in terms of getting them to really believe and be the team we want to be. Which is not unexpected, we’ve been working together for four or five weeks so when I see things like that, it’s a good sort of reminder to me that there’s still a fair way to go.”
Tottenham have one more preseason match before the season opener at Brentford — this Tuesday against Barcelona in the Joan Gamper trophy. Spurs kick off at 2:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. UK.