Jose Mourinho's playing style could force Harry Kane to question Tottenham future, says Paul Merson
Kane made first appearance in six months in 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Friday night
Last Updated: 21/06/20 12:40pm
Harry Kane will consider his future at Tottenham at the end of this season because Jose Mourinho's style doesn't get the best out of him, believes Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.
Kane made his first appearance for Spurs since New Year's Day on Friday night, playing all 90 minutes in his team's 1-1 draw with Manchester United on their return to Premier League action after the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The striker had used the lockdown period to recover from a hamstring injury, however, he was not at his best and often isolated at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Kane touched the ball just 36 times in all - and not once in the Manchester United penalty area.
He attempted one shot, which was blocked, and appeared extremely tired towards the end of his first appearance in over six months.
Kane had scored seven goals in 10 appearances under Mourinho before his injury but Spurs had just 39 per cent possession against Manchester United and Merson believes Mourinho's conservative style does not play to the strengths of Kane, who won the Premier League Golden Boot twice under former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
"When Jose took the job I worried for Harry Kane," Merson told Soccer Saturday.
"He played under Pochettino and Tottenham sort of had a go wherever they went. There were goals, there were crosses, there were shots.
"[But now] he's going to be playing up front on his own and it is going to be hard work. In the end he's trying to hit 60-yard passes just to be involved in the game. That's not Harry Kane.
I think he'll have a serious think at the end of the season, I really do. I don't see him getting 25-30 goals next season with the way Jose will want to play.
Paul Merson on Harry Kane
"He's not fit. He's definitely not fit. They played with virtually 10 men.
"I think he'll have a serious think at the end of the season, I really do. I don't see him getting 25-30 goals next season with the way Jose will want to play.
"And Jose won't want to play like he did when he first got in there and it was 4-2 and 5-3, no way. He'll like those games like Friday night, 1-1."
Merson: 'Spurs look thrown together'
Merson was also critical of how Tottenham's players combine on the pitch under Mourinho. Having been a fan of their attacking, high-intensity style under Pochettino, Merson says Spurs' play now looks disjointed.
The Sky Sports pundit also believes the players have been affected by falling away from challenging at the top end of the Premier League table.
"I watched Tottenham last year, and the year before that, and the year before that and for me they were one of the best teams in the league," he said.
"I'd have arguments, being an ex-Arsenal player, and I'd have no problem saying, 'You get Tottenham's best eleven players on the pitch and they're as good as anybody. The squad isn't great but those eleven players would give anybody a game'.
"But I don't know what's happened. I don't know if the players have got disheartened because they've been up there and now they've drifted away. And when you've been up there you want to be like a Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, you want to be going for majors, not top 10 finishes. That's the case with Tottenham now.
I just think at the moment, everybody is unhappy. Not just the manager, I think the players are as well. They need to get back together again. I worry for Tottenham.
"The players are getting a little disheartened. The way they're playing, it's not entertaining. I used to like watching Tottenham play. You knew you were going to get action, they're going to open the game up, it's going to be free-flowing, with pace, energy. I watch them now and I just don't see that.
"It's not even as a team. They look like a team that have been thrown together. That's not Mourinho.
"You look at him when he was at Chelsea and you think he was the most organised manager ever. I'd go to Chelsea and they'd be 2-0 up against a bottom three team and that'd be the end of the match. They wouldn't kick on and win 5-0 and 6-0, they'd win 2-0 and the other team would have no chance of getting back in it.
"I just think at the moment, everybody is unhappy. Not just the manager, I think the players are as well. They need to get back together again. I worry for Tottenham.
"I used to think Tottenham were a good team. I've got to be honest, I don't think they're a good team at the moment."
Mourinho praises Spurs 'control'
While Mourinho was highly critical of the VAR and officiating in Tottenham's draw with Manchester United, he was more satisfied with the performance of his team.
Spurs' winless record was extended to a sixth consecutive game, but they produced some moments of quality with a number of first-team regulars returning from injury after the three-month enforced break.
"What did I like? I like the team attitude, the team organisation, the control, following a plan, being very solid, giving to United what they don't like and really happy with that," he told Sky Sports.
"I was unhappy with the fact that, the way I was reading the game, I had no bench to react to it. With Lucas and Dele, they would be on the bench or they would be playing, then I would have on the bench some of our attacking players.
"When they become more dominant because we were quite tired up front, by being tired we couldn't press, it was easier for them to build and at the same time we couldn't be dangerous on the counter attack because we had no legs for that. So it was hard to manage the game in that sense."
Watch the Premier League on Sky Sports
For the Premier League's resumption, Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games during the resumption of the 2019/20 Premier League season. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.