LONDON - Harry Kane has raised doubts about Tottenham Hotspur’s mentality after they suffered further trophy heartache.
Having lost from a winning position in their Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus earlier this season, Spurs yet again threw away a lead in a crunch clash as they lost to Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Tottenham have shown this season that they can cut it with Europe’s elite, defeating Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund during the Champions League group stages before securing an excellent 2-2 draw at Juventus before losing the second leg.
But their failure to get over the line when pressure is at its highest has raised doubts over Mauricio Pochettino side’s big-game know-how.
"Our mentality could be the difference, there’s obviously a reason why we’re falling short in the semi-finals, or in the big games," Kane said.
"So we have to do better. I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what it is. But it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating personally, it’s frustrating for the team. We just have to find our way round it. I wouldn’t say it’s a mental block.
"Obviously it’s annoying. It’s hard to put a finger on why. We weren’t good enough. It was an even game. They got their noses in front and that was the end of it.
"Criticism is part of the game. We’ve been close, but not good enough in the final minutes. Everyone is going to be frustrated until the end of the season now.’
Kane insists he is not feeling the effects of a recent ankle injury. The England striker made a miraculous recovery after injuring the joint against Bournemouth on March 11, returning to action just three weeks later. Kane has scored twice since his return but is not firing on all cylinders, leading to suggestions he has been rushed back.
But the striker said: "That’s people’s opinion. People are always going to look for something to say when maybe you’re not firing at your best.
"At the end of the day, I’ve still scored two in my last four, it’s not the worst in the world.
"But when you set standards, people are going to look for things when you’re not at them. I’m the same.
"I want to be better, I want to do better. I feel good. I feel sharp. Can I do better? Probably. Can the team do better? Yes. So it’s a collective effort. The ankle feels fine. No problems."
Pochettino added of Kane: "He is OK. But, of course, the performance sometimes cannot be what we expect.
"Harry Kane cannot score every single game. The injury is not a problem, it’s not easy after an injury. Harry needs time to recover his best."