Conte praises Kane after goal equaling the record

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Antonio Conte urged his players to be “dreamers” and said trophies were the most important thing after Harry Kane equaled Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham’s record goalscorer.

Kane 266p a goal for the club he represented throughout his career was enough to see Spurs win 1-0 at Fulham at Craven Cottage and lift Spurs three points below fourth-placed Manchester United, although they played more than Erika ten Haga’s side.

Related: Harry Kane equaled Spurs’ goalscoring record in the win over Fulham

However, Conte was less interested in talking about records and more focused on helping his team rediscover last season’s unity. The Italian said he wanted to help Kane end his trophy wait and revealed he held a meeting with his squad after being angered by the way Spurs defended in successive defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City.

Conte, who revealed Kane was playing with a fever, wanted to see some resilience against Fulham after his side conceded 21 goals in their previous 10 league games. The run raised further doubts about the Spurs manager’s future. A Kane winner would lift the spirits, but Conte wants more.

“We’re talking about a player who has fantastic abilities, amazing skills,” said Conte, discussing Kane’s drawing level with Greaves. “I would definitely like to help him try to do something important. Win something with Tottenham. He loves Tottenham. Tottenham is in his heart. It would be good if we could win something together. It’s important to have this record. But it would be more important if you picked up the trophy. I think we must be dreamers. I spoke to the players and said that today must be the starting point for us.

Kane takes a corner kick and scores his 266th goal for Spurs.

Kane takes a corner kick and scores his 266th goal for Spurs. Photo: Dave Shopland/REX/Shutterstock

Conte wants Spurs, who face Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League, to be in their game when they visit Preston North End in the fourth round of the FA Cup this weekend.

“You can learn much more from defeats than just winning,” said Conte. “I think after the game against City and Arsenal it was important to do a good reflection with my players and understand that maybe we lost something compared to last season. Not on the attack. But we lost something defensively. When I say defensive, I mean the whole team. I wanted to see resilience, willingness, will to defend the result.

“If we want to be dreamers, we have to know that the FA Cup is a difficult game. If I see this unity, we have time for another good season. Losing to City was a strange defeat. When you concede four goals in one half, it means something is wrong. If you concede 21 goals in 10 games, maybe something is wrong.

Kane, whose goal came just before half-time, was proud of his achievement. “I was just trying to put myself in a position where I can get half a yard, maybe pinning a defender is something that has come into my game a bit more over the last year,” said the striker. “I used a defender to spin him around, it was a nice goal. I managed to bend it to the furthest corner. Fortunately, there was enough in it. I’ve been playing soccer long enough to know where the goal is. It’s just an instinct.”

Marco Silva complained about the messy end to the first half with Fulham. “We were clearly the best team for 40 minutes,” said the Fulham manager. “We created two very good chances. I think we’ve lost a bit of control in the last five minutes. We lost the ball too soon. We lost the ball too soon after a quick corner and Kane scored. It was decided by a great player, but we were punished. We lost energy in the second half. It was a difficult second half for us.”

Silva, who believed Son Heung-min should be sent off for a foul on Kenny Tete in the first half, added that it was too early to report on Aleksandar Mitrovic after the striker limped with an ankle injury.

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