Date: 3rd June 2019 at 7:00pm
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It was the ultimate question for us ahead of the Champions League final: Harry Kane or no Harry Kane?

The England captain had been out of action for more than a month and, in that time, we staged a memorable comeback against Ajax, where hat-trick hero Lucas Moura stole the show.

Indeed, at the time of the team sheets being revealed, some were quick to criticise Pochettino for making such a call – and those claims went on throughout the night.

But life is all about not having regrets. And leaving your star player on the bench when he’s supposedly fully-fit would have been the ultimate regret for Mauricio Pochettino.

Can you imagine the what-if scenarios had we lost without the main man up top? Opting to start with Kane and having the likes of Dele Alli and Heung Min-Son make runs off him seemed like a very good plan.

And put simply, Kane didn’t exactly have a terrible game – he was just well marshalled by the most expensive defender in the world, Virgil van Dijk. But in the moments he was alive, he was heavily involved in the build-up play for creating two chances for a misfiring Son, and had the South Korean buried either of those opportunities like he’s been doing for us this season, then there really wouldn’t have been any questions surrounding Kane’s inclusion.

Indeed, speaking after the game, the Argentine was adamant that he had made the right call despite the end result. He said (via The Independent):

“I promise, my decision involved a lot of analytics, all of the information. I don’t regret my decision.”

Of course, the whole argument will be that Pochettino would hardly admit to making a mistake; but Kane represents something even more than just being one of the world’s best strikers. Picking him in the starting line-up would have been a major boost to the rest of the guys in the line-up, seeing their talisman ready and raring to go for the side’s biggest game in history.

By starting him from the off, Pochettino’s hope would’ve been that the 25-year-old might have found it easier to get used to the rhythm of the game. Bringing him off the bench in a game as intense as a European cup final may just have completely bypassed him.  Kane has been our best player over a number of seasons now, and having him in the team would have struck Jurgen Klopp’s men with a bit of fear. The Reds would likely have built their defensive game-plan around having to deal with Lucas’ pace in-behind; seeing Kane on the team sheet just before they headed out of the tunnel would have raised the tension up a notch.

Pochettino took the big gamble and dared to start with an evidently less than 100% Harry Kane. Whilst the ending may not have proven him right, we simply would have regretted it for the rest of our lives if Kane wasn’t in from the start. The right move, just the wrong, heart-breaking result.

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5 Replies to “Pochettino has every right to tell critics to shut up as CL reflection continues: Opinion”

  • Problem is we’ve been down the very same route with the very same player earlier in the season against Burnley and what happened? We lost! Fact is he wasn’t ready then and he wasn’t ready for Saturday, the gamble didn’t pay off once again and Harry Kane was largely anonymous. I’m as sorry as anyone, but in truth if I’d been in Poch’s shoes I’d have benched till the latter part of the game. Of course it is the manager’s call and that what he’s paid for, but surely learning from past mistakes is the surest fire way of getting past them! For me and as much as I love Poch’ as Spurs manager he didn’t do this, and I surely can’t be alone in questioning the notion that Kane must always play irrespective of the cost? In fact it may even do him good to be left out from time to time especially if his form is a little ropey as it can be! I don’t mean to stick the boot in here but if Spurs are ever going to get past their largely unfair “Spursy” reputation they seem to have aqccuired then they have to look the truth squarely in the face and deal with it, its what every Tottenham fan wants in the long run, that and some decent trophyware to stick in their brand new cabinets, so COYS to dare is to do an all that!

  • Liverpool were given a penalty in the 1st minute giving them a lead from the start. In tbe next 86 minutes they had 35% possession and the main tactic was to defend to boot the ball away stop Spurs play and slow the game down to preserve that penalty lead. The goalkeper stopped everything the two lines of defenders allowed to pass.
    They managed to hold the lead until the 87th minute when out of nowhere and against the flow of the game they killed the game with a second.
    I would say well done Liverpool for winning. But I refuse to criticise any Spurs player or Pochetino for any alleged error.
    Like any football fan I was excited to witness 2 English teams meeting in the european final. I was excited and looking forwards to watch a game that was promising to be full of passion technical ability competitiveness and all football has to offer. The last thing I expected to see was the referee to be the influencing individual to determine the outcome of the game. Shame shame shame. It is then very difficult to watch a fair game or a good game. I just hope the referee has counsiouness to keep him awake for the rest of his life for ruining the dreams of so many millions of fans of so many clubs he destroyed with his heartless and controversial decisions. Check him out!
    It is very easy to criticise but I want to see what did the critics of Pochettino achieved to justify their argument.
    Kane is the best English player and he should be in the pitch if he can stand up. Match fit or not. Every player of Spurs had the right to play but only 11 can be fielded. This is the reality. Moura couldn’t repeat what he did on tbe semi final because this is how things are. So someone had to be on the bench and it was Moura.

  • Pochettino is no more above criticism than any other manager – Sarri’s Chelsea finished third and won the EL, but he’s been given dog’s abuse, so why should Pochettino be spared after yet another failure, to which his obvious failings in team selection, tactics and use of subs clearly contributed? He’s been in the job for five years, but we’re always being told that he’s young (47 – Bill Nick was 42 when Spurs did the Double in 1961!), and still learning his trade – isn’t it time he mastered it?

  • Being fit and being match sharp are two totallly different things. I don’t care what Kane has done in the past, his contribution in the final was non exsistent, fully fit kane would be holding the ball up , running the channels and spreading the ball out wide, but he looked sluggish and his reactions were off, this was not helped by the absolute shocking service from the supporting cast. The CL final has papered over the cracks. 20 losses in all competitions is regression. I felt for Moura, i thought him and Son with their pace could cause problems from the start, Kane performances have proven to be sluggish when returning from injuries. Wrong call from Poch imo.

  • The thing is he should pay more attantion to what certain people who seem to get things right more often than wrong say.

    Pochettinos CL final was a disastrous collapse in the man handling department. Either Kane has a clause saying he always starts when he can and wants to or Pochettino told everyone that” it doesn’t matter how you perform and work, it takes at least a double hat trick in a CL semi to start before one of my holy cows”

    So what striker of dignity will sign when playing the football of your life and scoring a hat trick in a CL final don’t give you a start ahead of someone whos just began to train 100% whos been out for two months? Spurs only play with one centreforward so another striker will rot away on the bench. Jansen knows it, Llorente the former world champion and CL winner knows it

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