Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino labelled Harry Kane as a "massive example" after he netted three times in Spurs' 3-0 win away at Burnley on Saturday evening.
His first came from the penalty spot as Dele Alli was tripped by Kevin Long on just seven minutes, which was followed by two typical second half strikes to seal a much-needed victory.
When asked how satisfying it was to claim the three points, Pochettino expressed how happy it made both he and his squad after a tough result at Manchester City last week:
“It was a good win for us. Not only the three points but the way we achieved the victory, I’m so happy with the performance. The team was supreme from the beginning at a very difficult like here.
We’re so happy, the three points mean a lot to us because we’re still in a position to compete for the top four and they changed the feeling from last week [the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City].”
Appreciation for hatrick hero Kane
Not only did Harry Kane win the match for Tottenham, he also achieved a mighty individual feat by equalling Alan Shearer's 22-year-old record of 39 Premier League goals scored in a calendar year.
Kane will have one more chance to top that record in 2017 when Spurs play host to Southampton on Boxing Day, but his manager believes winning the game is more important than individual success:
“He’s always focused on trying to help the team. The first thing is to win the game and then, of course, to score goals. We’ll see after the game, I can say nothing today.”
Although, he was thrilled with his no. 10's goalscoring ability, naming him a "massive example" to everyone:
“He’s such an important player for us. After three-and-a-half years at Tottenham manager it doesn’t surprise me – his talent on the ball, attitude, professionalism, ethic.
"He’s a massive example for everyone and I’m so happy for him because we didn’t only achieve the three points, he’s equalled Alan Shearer’s record [39 goals in a calendar year] and is one goal away from setting the record so I think it’s a massive, massive achievement for him."
Pochettino was all-for Kane breaking Shearer's record, for the good of the player and the football club:
“Alan Shearer was a fantastic player. Harry is doing so well, but Alan was consistent over 10 years scoring goals and you need to show massive respect because it’s amazing what he did.
"Now Harry is doing well, we hope he’ll break it for him and Tottenham, the club, but to have a player like Harry Kane is fantastic and I hope and wish he’ll continue to score goals."
Boos don't affect Dele
The obvious line of questioning prior to the press conference was, of course, going to surround Dele Alli, who was in the thick of things throughout the whole 90 minutes.
The young England international was getting booed out of the building at every involvement throughout the 87 minutes he played, but Mauricio Pochettino was full of praise for his showing:
“I think it’s a yellow, but I’m happy with his performance and contribution. The penalty was a penalty and he always tried to get into the game to help the team – I feel like he’s coming good.
"Okay, he performed a dangerous action but his contribution was fantastic today. I am so happy with his performance. Of course, we are the first to demand and expect more from him, but I think this is in a good way.”
The Argentinian boss went on to say that the abuse Dele Alli gets during matches doesn't affect him in the slightest, and that people forget his age:
“He’s a special player, he is what he is, he’s 21, still young and made a mistake. Because he’s so special, his character and the way that he plays, the crowd is focused on him, but I think today there’s nothing to say about him.
“He doesn’t care, he doesn’t care about this situation. His personality and character means he doesn’t care what happens around him and is why he’s achieved what he has in such a short period, only two years.”
Focus set on Southampton
Pochettino's next test in former club Southampton, and he insisted his, and Spurs', ultimate focus is on that match rather than whether the title race is already over:
“Of course. If you want to fight until the end for big things you have to be consistent but I’m sure the team is focused like we showed today and we showed stuff last week against City.
"But I think today was so important to believe again, to smile again because it’s always difficult after a defeat like that. But today I thought the performance was fantastic, it’s not a nice place to play, here.
“I think we need to set our focus towards Southampton, it’s a tough test for us so we can’t be thinking about 2nd, 3rd or 4th, the most important thing is the game ahead of us."