King Kane marches on - Tottenham boss in 100-goal salute to Harry the greatSports | 28 Feb 2017
Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Kane is on course to becoming a Tottenham Hotspur all-time great after the striker scored the 100th club goal of his career.
Kane, 23, scored a first-half hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Stoke City, reaching the century mark with his first goal and ending the game with his season tally at 22.
His effort helped Spurs bounce back after the disappointment of going out of the Europa League against Gent last week, and Pochettino believes Kane's all-round display confirmed he is among the world's most dangerous forwards.
"He has the perfect profile to be a legend," Pochettino said. "Sometimes he argues with me. Sometimes he's upset with me. Sometimes he is happy. He has a strong character. He is one of the best."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes, who was a striker with Manchester United and Barcelona among various top clubs, added his voice to the praise directed Kane's way.
"He either takes chances or he's involved in the creation of chances - always involved at the sharp end," he said.
"There's great movement around him and that causes consternation. He benefits from that. He's in a good team and he's a good player, and when it all clicks Spurs are very difficult to stop."
Kane also set up Dele Alli for his side's fourth goal as the midfielder delivered the ideal response after being sent off against Gent.
Alli was heavily criticized for the first-half challenge that brought a straight red card, and the player admitted it had been a difficult time.
"I felt horrible after the game in the week," he said. "I'm delighted to respond like this."
And Pochettino said Alli had his full support.
"Our conversations are private, but I gave more love than normal," the manager said. "He's very mature and he showed that [against Stoke]. I am happy for him because he was sad and disappointed. He is only 20 years old. I will always protect and support him .?.?. Sometimes can make a mistake, but I want him on the pitch."
The win moved Tottenham up to second place in the Premiership table, but the gap between them and fellow Londoners and leaders Chelsea remains a daunting 10 points.
Yet Pochettino insists he has not given up hope of chasing down Antonio Conte's side. "Ten points is a big gap," he agreed, "but we keep going and believe. We try to put on pressure."
Hughes, however, was frustrated at Stoke's display and is demanding improvements from his players when they take on Middlesbrough in their next game.
He said: "We've been in decent form and need to get back. It's a big game against Middlesbrough and we need to be significantly better than we were.
"Spurs are a good side - give them credit. But every one of the goals was poor from our point view."