Harry Kane urges Tottenham to give Chelsea a Friday fright by closing the gap

Ed Aarons
The Guardian
Harry Kane urges Tottenham to give Chelsea a Friday fright by closing the gap
Harry Kane urges Tottenham to give Chelsea a Friday fright by closing the gap

Harry Kane has called on Tottenham Hotspur to take advantage of the scheduling of Premier League fixtures and increase the pressure on leaders Chelsea by beating West Ham United on their first trip to the London Stadium on Friday night.

With Antonio Conte’s side not in action until Monday evening against Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge, Spurs can move to within one point of Chelsea if they can overcome West Ham and record a 10th successive Premier League victory.

“It is good to go first – we have got to try to drop the gap to one point and see what happens,” said Kane, whose penalty in Sunday’s north-London derby helped to ensure Tottenham will finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995.

“We knew what it was like last year with Leicester playing before us. It is difficult. It is good to try to play first and try to put that pressure on, so it will be good to play on Friday night. It is another tough game away from home but hopefully we can get that win, put that pressure on and wait and see.”

At this stage last season, Tottenham trailed Leicester City by five points but failed to win any of their last four games as they faded badly to end up in third spot. With a home match against Manchester United and trips to Leicester and relegation-threatened Hull City to follow West Ham, Spurs must contend with a potentially more difficult run-in compared with Chelsea. Kane is confident they can maintain their winning run until the end of the season – an achievement that would leave them one victory behind Arsenal’s Premier League record of 14 between February and August of 2002.

“We could end up on 89 [points] and still not win the league,” Kane said. “That would be disappointing. We have got four games in front of us and we feel like we can win all four. We feel we can beat anyone. We have just got to learn from what happened last year and we feel like we are doing that.”

After Monday’s meeting with Middlesbrough, Chelsea still have home games against Watford and relegated Sunderland after they travel to West Bromwich Albion on 12 May and know three wins would guarantee the title. Nemanja Matic, who was part of the side who held off Manchester City’s challenge in 2015 under José Mourinho, admitted they are wary of the threat posed by Spurs. “This year is more difficult,” he said. “We finished 2015 eight points more than City. I’m not sure that will be the case with Tottenham. I’m sure they won’t give up until the end. It’s hard.

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“We win, Tottenham win. We try to win again and they win again. It’s close. We’ll see if they drop some points. They also have some difficult games at home and away. Everything is open until the end.”

West Ham are expected to put in place extra security measures after crowd trouble during their EFL Cup tie with Chelsea. Tottenham beat Slaven Bilic’s side 3-2 at White Hart Lane earlier this season and will experience the same upheaval as West Ham when they relocate to Wembley in the summer as work on their new ground intensifies.

Arsène Wenger has predicted it could take Tottenham some time to settle into their stadium when it is completed but Kane believes the prospect of playing in front of more than 60,000 supporters is one to savour.

“Every time we drive in we can see how big that stand is getting,” he said. “Everything is getting built up and it shows the way the club is going. We have got a fantastic manager who is one of the best in the world. We have got a great squad, a real togetherness and we are going in the right direction. We have got to make sure we continue that, don’t get carried away, even this season don’t get carried away. We have four games left that we have got to try to win. It is exciting times.”

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