MAURICIO POCHETTINO hailed Harry Kane the “killer” striker after he hit a hat-trick in Tottenham’s 3-0 thrashing of Apoel Nicosia.
Kane’s ‘perfect’ treble, delivered by his left foot, right foot and head, was his first in the Champions League and ninth overall for Tottenham, who now own a commanding position to qualify from Group H.
They rode their luck at times against a spirited Apoel side, who were spurred on by a buoyant home crowd, but in Kane Spurs arguably have the deadliest striker in the world on current form.
The 24-year-old has now scored 11 goals in his last seven games for club and country, while his 2017 record shows 34 goals in 30 club appearances.
He becomes the seventh English player to score a Champions League hat-trick after Andy Cole, Mike Newell, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer and Danny Welbeck.
Pochettino had said he was “in love” with Kane after his talisman’s double against West Ham on Saturday and he joked he should tread more carefully this time around.
“Now my wife is so jealous – and his wife too,” Pochettino said with a smile. “No, I think it’s unbelievable. You know, it’s Harry Kane.
“He has unbelievable skills in front of goal. He has something special. That is why he is one of the best.
“All the strikers that have this type of level they have something special in front of goals. They are killers. Harry has this special skill.”
In a group that is expected to finish with reigning champions Real Madrid and underdogs Apoel at the top and bottom respectively, Tottenham have stolen a march on Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund’s defeat at home to Real on Tuesday means they sit six points behind Spurs, who travel to the Santiago Bernabeu next month.
That match is likely to be billed as a contest of Kane against Cristiano Ronaldo but Pochettino refused to stoke the fire.
“Cristiano is fantastic, one of the best,” Pochettino said. “Harry is one of the best and will get better because he’s so young. I cannot joke about that because both are fantastic.
“Both are the type of players you want in your team, in the same team.”
Tottenham will head to Spain in a confident mood after taking maximum points so far and knowing even defeat would not seriously damage their chances of progress.
“We are going to play against the best team in the world because I think Real Madrid are the best right now,” Pochettino said.
“This season they are showing they are the best. You never know. We will be very motivated to play them. We know very well the quality they have.
“It’s a big challenge for us to try to see what is our level and if we can compete in this type of level.”