Harry Kane winner for Tottenham was no surprise to Man City’s Pep Guardiola

Manchester City tried to sign the Tottenham striker in the summer but failed to make a sufficient bid.

Jonathan Veal
Saturday 19 February 2022 21:43 GMT
Harry Kane (right) was a thorn in Manchester City’s side at the Etihad Stadium (Mike Egerton/PA)
Harry Kane (right) was a thorn in Manchester City’s side at the Etihad Stadium (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Harry Kane did not need a match-winning performance to prove his quality after firing Tottenham to a memorable 3-2 victory.

Kane scored twice to remind City exactly what they missed out on when they failed to make a sufficient bid for him in the summer and blow the Premier League title race open.

Guardiola openly admitted to trying to sign Kane, but City never got anywhere near a valuation that even got Spurs interested in selling their top man.

The England captain put on a show at the Etihad Stadium, playing his part in Dejan Kulusevski’s opener and putting Spurs back in front following Ilkay Gundogan’s equaliser with a sublime finish before delivering late drama.

Riyad Mahrez’s stoppage-time penalty had looked like stealing City a point but Kane, who also had a goal ruled out by VAR, had other ideas, heading home an even later winner in the fifth minute of time added on.

Guardiola said: “It was never an option. Everyone knows we were interested but it was not an option. Forget it, it’s in the past.

“It’s not necessary to show the goals he scored tonight to show his quality on the ball, all the UK knows it.”

Spurs have caused City problems in the past and did so again, ending their 15-game unbeaten run on a day when Liverpool, who have a game in hand on the leaders, cut the gap to six points.

Not many people would have seen this one coming, given Spurs had lost their last three Premier League games.

But the Spaniard was perhaps one who was wary.

“I felt it yesterday. I had the feeling that they have fantastic players, a fantastic manager. We knew after three defeats they would be back,” Guardiola added.

“There was practically no space. After that they could keep the ball and with Kane it gave time to Son, who could run. In general we were there all the time. We were there but we couldn’t win.

“Every goal is different. It was difficult to defend the second one especially when they come from five or 10 yards behind. Third one was to the back post and we defended badly and lost the game.

“I said we need to win a lot of points. Every team plays for lots of things, Champions League, Europa League, not being relegated, and every game will be a big battle.

“We know it, it will be good to understand how difficult it is. We were unbeaten for 15 games so it shows how well we have done.”

The win hauls Spurs back into the top-four race and boss Antonio Conte referred to it as the “perfect performance”.

He believes Kane’s return to form – he has scored nine goals in 14 games – is down to the Italian wanting him to become more of a striker again.

Kane has scored nine goals in 14 matches (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“I think to speak about Harry’s performance, what can I tell you about him? He was fantastic,” he said.

Harry for sure we’re talking about a world class striker. He’s working, he’s working very well.

“I think that he’s improving also on the physical aspect and I’m working with him also to become a point of reference for us. To become more a striker because sometimes in the past he liked to go outside the box to play. He’s very good also to do this.

“Also with Harry we’re working a lot on many aspects. I think that my aspiration, I repeat, is to arrive at the end of the season and to see every single player improve after the work that we’re doing.

“It means our team is going in the right direction and is going to be more competitive to try to fight for something important.”

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