Tottenham assistant Cristian Stellini brushes off Harry Kane concerns but tells referees to ‘take care’ of England captain
Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini has asked the referees to protect Harry Kane more after starting him in the FA Cup.
Spurs named a strong side in their 1-0 win over Portsmouth with Kane leading alongside Heung-Min Son and Bryan Gil.
Although they didn’t slam Pompey like they did at Crystal Palace mid-week, Kane came within one goal to equalize Jimmy Greaves’ goalscoring record at Tottenham after his lone strike took victory.
With Arsenal next in a crucial North London derby, there were fears that Kane suffered an unnecessary injury, but Stellini dismissed those claims.
The Spurs manager, who replaces Antonio Conte in media duties, told talkSPORT exclusively: “We have eight days until the next game, so we have a week to prepare. So it’s good for Harry to keep up the pace. play and play along [Heung-min] Son and [Bryan] Scream and find solutions.
“For these kind of players it is better to play every match. If you play every three days you might be able to rest now and then, but in this case he doesn’t need that.
Instead, Stellini insisted it was up to the referees to deal with Kane.
He added: “For us it is too important and we know very well that we have to take care of him. I said before that it is also important that the referee takes care of him.
“Everyone has to be careful with this type of player.
“A presence like Harry is very important in any match. In this type of game, when the space is very small, it is all the more important because the quality of that player is present in every part of the pitch – defensively, offensively, in the small space, in the larger space.
Tottenham have been battling injury problems in recent weeks with attacking players Richarlison, Lucas Moura and Dejan Kulusevski all out, while midfielder Yves Bissouma retired in the warm-up ahead of the FA Cup win over Portsmouth.
And Stellini insisted that was one of the reasons he couldn’t bench Kane or Son.
He added: “We don’t have many chances because we don’t have many players.
“We have to bring back attackers, we only have three attackers. We used a young player like Alfie Devine because he deserved to play, he’s a good young player. But we have three, so we used three.
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