Kane to play with Son out for Spurs against Dinamo Zagreb

By Sports Desk March 17, 2021

Tottenham striker Harry Kane will start against Dinamo Zagreb, as Jose Mourinho will not take the risk of resting his star man with Son Heung-min ruled out.

Spurs lead the Europa League last-16 tie 2-0 after a double from Kane in the first leg.

The England captain suffered a knock to his knee in that match but was fit to play a part in the north London derby against Arsenal on Sunday.

Resting Kane was a prospect put to Mourinho at his pre-match news conference ahead of the Dinamo game, but it is not one the head coach is contemplating.

He already has a weakened forward line with Son injuring his hamstring in the 2-1 loss to Arsenal.

The problem to Son is not thought to be as bad as first feared, but the match in Zagreb will come too soon.

"If one of you ask me is he [Kane] going to play on Thursday or is he going to rest, I answer already that he's going to play," Mourinho said.

"The game is open, it's an important game for us so he plays on Thursday. I do not think it is such a good lead.

"If we lose 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 we would qualify, but if we qualify with a defeat in this game I will not be happy. 

"We don't go there to defend the lead. We go to try and win."

Mourinho is not keen on Kane playing three matches for England during the international break.

"I have no control," said Mourinho. "If I could choose I would love them all to go [on international duty]. It is a plus for us and pride for them.

"But we wouldn’t like them to play three matches. 

"But it's not in our hands. I cannot do Gareth’s [Southgate] work in the same way he doesn’t try to do mine. 

"He doesn’t give any public opinion about who to give more minutes to or who to rest, so I don’t feel confident about doing that.

"He does what he wants and what is best for the team."

Asked about whether Son would be fit to play for South Korea against Japan next week, Mourinho replied: "If a player is injured and cannot play, a friendly or official, it doesn't matter the match it is.

"So if we arrived next week and Sonny is injured and we can prove that to the South Korean Football Association, what's he going to do there? Nothing.

"So if a player cannot play for the club, he cannot play for the country. I do not know when he is back but definitely out [against Dinamo]."

Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, meanwhile, is back in training and on the brink of a comeback after three months out injured.

Mourinho added: "Very talented player with very competitive qualities. 

"I don't think he has 90 minutes in his legs but he's looked very confident in these three training sessions with the team. 

"The team needs him and he is very competitive. I think even for some other players he will help some, he will scare others and I think we need that."

Spurs have progressed from each of their previous three knockout ties in the Europa League when they have won the first leg.

They have also won three of their past five away matches in the knockout stages of major European competitions (L2), having been winless in 11 such games prior to this run.

Son will be a miss as he has scored in each of his past three away starts in European competition, the first Spurs player to do so since Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.

Also on the sidelines is the suspended Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Joe Rodon, who is not in the Europa League squad.

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