Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has continued sparring with Gareth Southgate over the England manager’s plans for Harry Kane next week.
Mourinho made it perfectly clear that he did not expect Kane to be involved in all three of England’s games over the next fortnight after a gruelling run of fixtures for Tottenham, which continued with a 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League on Thursday.
Southgate responded with tongue in cheek by saying that Mourinho has to in turn look after Kane in April and May with the European Championships around the corner, and also pointed out that the Spurs boss had only namechecked Steve Holland as a friend in his comments.
Kane showed why both men want him to play every minute of every game with a hat-trick and an assist in the romp over Maccabi Haifa which booked Spurs’ place in the group stages.
Mourinho used his opportunity after the game to get the final word in, although he made a slip by calling the England boss ‘Gary’.
“What I can promise to my friend Steve Holland and for Gary (sic) not to be jealous. For my friend Gary, I can promise that until the end of the season I don’t play Harry Kane one minute of any friendly match,” Mourinho said.
“His match was a fundamental match for us. A match that means a few million pounds and means that we are in a group phase of a competition that we have ambitions.”
Mourinho may not have to be so reliant on Kane going forward as Spurs are closing in on a deal to bring Carlos Vinicius to the club.
The Brazilian is primed to join Spurs on loan from Benfica with the option of a permanent transfer, not that Mourinho was ready to talk about it.
“No, I want you to ask me that question when it’s confirmed,” he said when asked about the deal. “Nobody told me it’s done so I’m going to respect the situation, respect the player, respect Benfica and wait a little bit more.
“Next time we see each other maybe I’m in conditions to answer.”
As well as Kane’s treble, Giovani Lo Celso grabbed a brace and Lucas Moura and Dele Alli also scored to earn a crushing win in their third game in five days.
Eric Dier, Steven Bergwijn and Toby Alderweireld all played two of those three games, and Mourinho lauded his squad’s effort.
“What Eric Dier, Bergwijn and Toby did is not human,” he said. “It’s proven, scientifically proven, every sport scientist person knows that what they did shouldn’t be done.
“To play 180 minutes in three days shouldn’t be allowed. These three guys did it. I know that some others played also until their limit, but we managed because we have a good squad and we have a squad with different options.
“We managed to share players in these matches and we managed to go through two knockout competitions in the Carabao and Europa League, but we could have gone out. Job done. I am really happy for the job done.”