LONDON – Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Tottenham could have a “massive problem” after Harry Kane was injured during Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United.
Kane twisted his right ankle colliding with Phil Jones and limped down the tunnel after the game at Wembley.
Spurs will assess their 20-goal star, but the manager fears he could be left short of strikers with Son Heung-min about to go off on international duty with South Korea.
Pochettino said: “If Harry suffers an injury, it would be a massive problem for us. That is my worry.”
Tottenham face Fulham on Sunday before the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea on January 24.
“It was a bad tackle,” Pochettino added. “It wasn’t intentional, but it was bad. There’s swelling. I hope it’s not a big issue, but Harry was limping.”
Pochettino praised his Tottenham Hotspur side’s “best 45 minutes” in his four-and-a-half years at the club, though, despite the loss.
Third-placed Tottenham’s second successive home defeat left them nine points behind league leaders Liverpool.
Should Manchester City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday to go five clear, it will surely be a two-horse race for the title.
Marcus Rashford’s 44th-minute goal proved decisive as Tottenham threw everything at United after the break with visiting keeper David de Gea making 11 saves – several of them in the world-class category.
Tottenham were chasing a first league double over United since the 1989-90 season after a 3-0 away victory in August, but despite his obvious disappointment, Pochettino said Sunday’s performance was much better than the one at Old Trafford.
“I am so pleased and I’m proud,” Pochettino, who is being strongly linked to the Manchester United manager’s job, told reporters.
“For me, it was one of the best performances that I saw since I’ve been here, and the best 45 minutes.
“I think David de Gea made 11 saves, which is unbelievable. We didn’t create much in the first half, but we dominated.
🗣️ Mauricio: "Sometimes you deserve to win but don't. That is football and it can happen." pic.twitter.com/CUAgSTp7Nz— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 13, 2019
“Overall, it was fantastic. My feeling today is the opposite of when we won at Old Trafford. After we won that game 3-0, I wasn’t happy, but today after the defeat, I’m very pleased with the performance.
“That’s the way we want to build a team for the future, to be close to win the title.
“I’m not happy with the result, of course, but very happy with the reaction after conceding the goal. We created more than enough chances to win the game. In the end, that is football.”
🗨️ Mauricio on @MoussaSissoko and @HKane: “We need to assess Moussa tomorrow and see what happens. Harry suffered a big tackle, we hope it’s not a big problem but we will also need to assess him tomorrow.” pic.twitter.com/uaI2w8WiPV— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 13, 2019
A sixth win out of six in all competitions since taking over from Jose Mourinho means United’s interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s chances of taking the full-time post are increasing.
Pochettino moving to Old Trafford still seems likely, however, even if the Argentine, unsurprisingly, refused to be drawn into that discussion after the game.
“I don’t think it’s ethical to talk about what he’s doing or what I’m doing,” Pochettino said.
“You can only talk about today’s game. And today, we were better.
“Today, it was a game between Tottenham and Manchester United, not a game between him and me, one versus one on the pitch.”
Daily Mail, Reuters