Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo hopes Harry Kane’s midweek hat-trick can help kickstart his Premier League season.
The England captain came off the bench to score a 20-minute treble in the 5-1 Europa Conference League win over NS Mura.
Kane – on the back of an unsettling summer where he wanted to leave the club – has endured a difficult start to the domestic campaign, however, as he has yet to score in five Premier League outings going into this Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa.
He has not gone six Premier League games without scoring since 2015 and Nuno is banking on him continuing that run on the back of his European cameo.
“We all wish and hope so,” Nuno said. “This is what we need, all of the players in the best of their qualities for the team.”
Nuno, who won the manager of the month award for August, has found himself under pressure after a terrible September where Spurs lost all three games to an aggregate of 9-1.
He was heavily criticised for the way he set his team up in Sunday’s 3-1 north London derby defeat to Arsenal, but says that he does not let the public judgement affect him.
“Football is what it is. Criticism is something we have to be ready for,” he said.
“I understand the criticism but I don’t focus on this. My focus is helping the team finding solutions to help the players. This is what my focus is.
“During my career I had a lot of criticism and lots of good words and praise but nothing had changed. I keep being the same person.”
Spurs went some way to rebuilding confidence in midweek ahead of the visit of Villa, even though they were playing the lowest ranked team in the competition.
“The game itself changes a lot of things, but it doesn’t erase the all the problems that we have,” Nuno added.
“It makes things easier with the confidence we have, with the good mood to prepare everyone better so it was important but we know Sunday will be a different game against a very good opponent.
“They have a talented squad and a very good manager so it’s a tough, tough task we have ahead of us. But we will be ready. The home factor will be huge for us. The support of our fans and the atmosphere, we will compete and play the game.”
Spurs will still be without Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon while defender Ben Davies looks set to miss out with an appendix issue.
Nuno said of the Welsh left-back: “He has a problem on an inflammation on his appendix. He has been taken care of, he has had some scans, but he was not able to play (on Thursday), he was in pain.
“We wish that he recovers soon and he can join us.”