Football

Spurs boss Pochettino keeps mum on Kane's link to Real Madrid

Tottenham boss refuses to talk about Real's interest in striker; doesn't expect new arrivals this month

Mauricio Pochettino dismissed talk of a potential £200 million (S$366.8m) Real Madrid bid for Harry Kane after the England striker scored his 99th English Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

"I'm not going to speak about rumours because if I give information about one rumour, I have to do it at all press conferences. It's not my problem to talk about rumours," he said at the post-match media conference yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Pochettino did say he doesn't expect to sign any new players this month after seeing his team miss the chance to move back into the top four as they were denied by a spirited Southampton.

"I am not concerned about that," he said.

"I know very well it will be difficult to add quality to the team in this period. If something happens and all the conditions are right to sign a player, then perhaps. I am relaxed, calm."

Spurs' build-up was hampered by a flu virus that saw Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen miss the game.

Pochettino said that other players were also affected with illness, but refused to say who.

"A few players were affected last week, but it's not an excuse," he said.

"The game was even. Full credit to Southampton because they fought and played well. In the end, if you analyse the game, it is a fair result.

"Of course, the pitch didn't help us, but it's the same for both teams."

Southampton started well and created two good chances down the left flank before Ryan Bertrand's cross from that area was turned past Tottenham reserve goalkeeper Michel Vorm by Davinson Sanchez.

Tottenham didn't waste any time in replying. Eric Dier had already struck the base of the post before Kane headed in Ben Davies' corner just 197 seconds after Saints had gone in front.

But, despite their lowly position, Mauricio Pellegrino's men refused to be cowed and ought to have retaken the lead when Jack Stephens headed over James Ward-Prowse's free-kick.

"They don't fight just for me, they fight for themselves, for the club," said Pellegrino, who insists he does not fear for his job.

"When you lose, you have to win a game; when you draw, you have to win a game; when you win, you have to win a game. It's part of life. They don't fight just for me, they fight for themselves, for the club."

In the closing minutes, Southampton's teen striker Michael Obafemi, 17, came within a whisker of connecting with Dusan Tadic's cross, while fellow substitute Sofiane Boufal saw his goal-bound effort brilliantly blocked by Sanchez.

At the other end, Dele Alli suffered the same fate, with Stephens blocking his close-range effort before Kane missed the chance to become the 27th player to score 100 EPL goals as he fired just wide of the far post.

"Even until the end, we could lose, we could win, but we are in the right path," said Pellegrino.

"I am sure we will improve. Obviously, we are in trouble at the moment with our position, but things can change." - AFP

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