HARRY KANE believes Tottenham’s win over Borussia Dortmund has sent out a resounding message about their Champions League credentials this season.
Kane was the star man at Wembley, scoring twice after Son Heung-min’s early strike had been cancelled out by a curling long-distance effort from Andriy Yarmolenko.
His double secured Spurs a 3-1 victory and three crucial points in Group H, where Dortmund are likely to be their chief rivals for qualification to the knockout stages, in between Real Madrid and APOEL.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had it all to prove, not only at Wembley, where they had won just two of their 12 previous fixtures, but at Europe’s top table, following their disappointing campaign last year.
Kane, who now has four goals in as many games in the Champions League, claims their opening win will make other teams sit up and take notice.
“Everyone knows Dortmund are one of the best teams in Europe,” Kane said.
“When they see 3-1 tonight – and it probably could have been four or five, we had a couple more chances – definitely it’s a statement, and that’s what we wanted to do.
“We’re in this competition to try and get very far in it. It’s a tough group but a night like this will only help us.”
Tottenham’s young squad were perhaps too naive last season, eager to stick rigidly to Pochettino’s pressing game when certain matches demanded a more flexible approach.
Against Dortmund, however, they often played like the away team, content to absorb the pressure and hit their opponents on the counter.
“It was an experienced performance from us,” Kane said. “We’ve got to learn we can’t always press 100 per cent against good teams because they’ll find spaces.
“We dropped off when we needed to, and caught them on the counter-attack with the spaces in behind.”
Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld added: “We didn’t play like children. We played like adults.
“When it doesn’t go our way, because we want to press and sometimes we’re a little bit late, we just stay compact to get through it.
“And when we got the ball, we tried to be dangerous. That’s a big plus from last season.”
Kane might have had a hat-trick but skewed a difficult chance wide late on and he eventually walked off to a standing ovation, to be replaced by Fernando Llorente.
With his August drought firmly behind him, the England striker now has six goals in four matches for club and country.
“I had a couple of chances in that second half, it would have been nice to get the first Champions League hat-trick,” Kane said.
“But I was dragging at the end there, I was tired, so the gaffer probably made the right decision.”
The only blemish on Tottenham’s victory was Jan Vertonghen picking up a second yellow card in added time for throwing his arm into the face of Mario Gotze.
Vertonghen will now miss the trip to APOEL later this month but the Belgian insisted his connection with Gotze was accidental.
“For me it was a mistake,” Vertonghen said.
“I was trying to win the ball, protect it, but had no intention to hit him. I think a couple of guys made too much of it.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe