Antonio Conte expects Harry Kane to “break every record” after his striker came close to Jimmy Greaves’ tally against Tottenham with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Kane broke the stalemate after three minutes of the second half at Selhurst Park and then needed just five more to claim his 264th cap for Spurs, just two short of equaling Greaves’ club record of 266.
Kane’s 15th Premier League goal of the season – six short of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland – brings him to 198 goals in the competition’s history, surpassed only by Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).
And Conte, relieved his side claimed their first win since the World Cup break, suggested more milestones were simply inevitable for the England captain.
The Tottenham boss said: “I think talking about Harry, I think a bit that we are wasting time explaining what type of player he is. I repeat, we are talking about a truly world-class striker who will break every record by scoring goals.
“For us, he is an important reference point, not only in goal but also on the pitch, and Hugo (Lloris) is our captain. Harry, especially in tough times, you know he’s ready to fight, ready to help his teammates, ready to solve a situation with a goal, an assist.
To continue on this path, to face every situation, positive or negative, always with great spirit, great character, to overcome the difficulties that I think in this period and also before the start of the World Cup.
Struggling Spurs were hoping to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
They were thwarted in the first period by the resilient hosts, who often looked the better side but struggled to find a finish.
It was goalless as the teams returned for the second half, but Kane quickly changed the pace as he nodded to an Ivan Perisic cross and then sent a low shot past Vicente Guaita to double his side’s advantage.
Son Heung-min put Matt Doherty into third place for the Spurs before going on the scoresheet in the 72nd minute.
The win saw Tottenham cut the gap to fourth-placed Manchester United to just two points.
Conte added: “Recovering from a home defeat where a win was expected and getting back to a really good position in the table wasn’t easy for the atmosphere, for the players, but today’s response was really good because I think my players have shown me every time together a great character, a great personality in every situation.
Palace boss Patrick Vieira was pleased with his side’s first-half performance and was unwilling to compare the defeat to his side’s 3–0 home defeat to Fulham on Boxing Day.
“I will not connect the two matches together,” he insisted. “I think everything went wrong against Fulham, we had two sent-offs and our attitude was not right.
“Today I think the way we played the game, I think we had the right approach, we had the right attitude, we were with them from head to toe. We probably created the best chance in the first half and played a really good period.
“If we had scored before the break, maybe the game would have turned out differently.