Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says a plan is in place to stop Harry Kane in Thursday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham.
The Red Devils head into the game fresh from their FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton & Hove Albion on penalties, which booked a return to Wembley in June to face neighbourhood rivals City in the final.
Victory would provide Ten Hag’s United with a domestic cup double in his first season at Old Trafford, and would help to banish the painful memories of the recent mauling by Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Spurs recently encountered a mauling of their own, going down 6-1 to Champions League qualification rivals Newcastle at St James’ Park while putting in an abject defensive performance that really had to be seen to be believed.
The one ray of sunshine in the North East was Kane bagging his 24th Premier League goal of the season and 26th in all competitions – another fine return for a player who is again being linked with a summer move away from Spurs.
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90min understands that Manchester United are interested in prising Kane away this summer, as are Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, and Ten Hag’s words in his pre-match press conference certainly suggest he is impressed with the England captain’s game.
“It’s quite clear, his impact on the game from Spurs,” Ten Hag said of the 29-year-old ahead of United’s trip to N17. “We have a plan for that and in the home game we did very well, so for tomorrow we need a very good plan as well.
“You have to defend as a team, he’s a clever player, don’t allow him to come into the situations, he can have a big impact on the game.”
Spurs’ recent downturn, and the subsequent dismissal of interim boss Cristian Stellini, has dominated headlines in recent days, but the Dutchman went on to stress that the game still holds significant importance for United and the race for a top-four finish.
“Very. You see the table. It’s quite clear but the approach, our approach will not change,” he added. “Our approach is we want to win every game, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”
Not for the first time, Kane’s Tottenham future is under the microscope. He’s signed new contracts in the past but is still yet to win a trophy in north London – something that will continue to be held against him despite his scoring record.
United are not in a position to guarantee trophies, but you’d argue that the club are clearly moving in the right direction under Ten Hag despite some rogue results in the Premier League. They also have a trophy to show for the Dutchman’s efforts so far, and could double their money against City in June.
Bayern Munich and PSG would guarantee Kane trophy success, yet there’s another factor to consider – the Premier League scoring record. Alan Shearer’s 260-goal haul could realistically be overhauled if Kane stays in England, leaving him a huge decision to take.
He could even stay at Tottenham, depending on who’s appointed as the club’s new boss.
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Man Utd’s progress to the FA Cup final following a penalty shootout win over Brighton, and Thursday’s crucial Premier League trip to Spurs.
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