Antonio Conte expects Harry Kane to “break every record” after striker Jimmy Greaves approaches the Tottenham scoreboard in a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Kane slammed into a stalemate three minutes into the second half at Selhurst Park, then picked up just five more and donned the Spurs shirt for his 264th jersey, leaving only two shy to equal Greaves’ club record of 266.
Kane’s 15th Premier League goal of the season – six goals less than Manchester City’s Erling Haaland – puts him to 198 in competitive history, ahead of only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).
And relieved that his team has won their first win since the World Cup break, Conte suggested that more turning points are inevitable for the England captain.
The Tottenham boss said: “I’m thinking about talking about Harry, I think we’ve wasted some time explaining what kind of player he is. Again, we’re talking about a really top-notch striker and he will break any record with his goals.
“For us he is an important reference point, not just for the goal, but also on the pitch and with our captain Hugo (Lloris). Especially in difficult moments, you know that Harry is ready to fight, to help his teammates, to solve the situation with one goal, one assist.
“I’m thinking about continuing this way, always facing every situation positive or negative with great spirit, great character, overcoming challenges, and also before the World Cup starts.”
The struggling Spurs had hoped to return to Aston Villa from a 2-0 defeat on New Year’s Day.
They were blocked in the first period by resilient hosts, who often looked on the bright side but struggled to find the finishing touches.
It was goalless when the sides returned for the second half, but Kane quickly changed his momentum, nodding to Ivan Perisic’s midfield and then sending a low kick to double his side’s advantage, past Vicente Guaita.
Son Heung-min set Matt Doherty for third place for the Spurs, before putting his name on the scorecard at the 72nd minute.
The victory allowed Tottenham to close the gap to fourth-placed Manchester United by just two points.
Conte added: “It wasn’t easy for the atmosphere and the players to come back three days after a defeat at home where the expectation was to try to win, and get back to a really good position at the table, but the reaction today has been really good because my players have always told me they’re a great character, every time. I think he showed a great personality in the situation.”
Palace boss Patrick Vieira was pleased with his team’s halftime performance and refused to compare the defeat to a 3-0 home defeat to Fulham on Boxing Day.
“I’m not going to put these two games together,” he insisted. “I think everything went wrong with Fulham, we were both expelled and our stance was not right.
“I think the way we played the game today, I think we had the right approach, we had the right attitude, we were head over heels against them. Maybe we created the best chance in the first half and we had a really good time.
If we had scored before the first half, maybe the match would have been different.”