LONDON — Christian Eriksen has had his say on “the Harry Kane team” row, agreeing that Pep Guardiola’s comment lacked respect and insisting that Tottenham are not a one-man team.
Mauricio Pochettino described Pep Guardiola as “disrespectful” and ungentlemanly, and suggested the Manchester City boss had broken the managerial code after he referred to Spurs as “the Harry Kane team” a fortnight ago. Guardiola clarified, saying Pochettino had made a mistake while insisting he had not shown Spurs any disrespect.
Pochettino also said his players had laughed at Guardiola’s comment but Eriksen, who was the match-winner in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth, made light of the row when it was pointed out that Spurs managed to win without Kane scoring.
“So you’re making it ‘the Harry Kane team.’ That’s what your headline is!” Eriksen told reporters at Wembley.
“We’re a team, of course. When Harry doesn’t score we have a strong enough team to score, if it’s me, Dele [Alli], Sonny [Son Heung-Min], Tripps [Kieran Trippier] or [Moussa] Sissoko. It could be anyone, whoever gets the chance and is good enough to finish. Today the ball fell for me but of course it’s a team performance. I think it was a very tough but a good game.
“I think it’s a team performance. If Harry doesn’t score somebody else must score. Of course Harry, with all the chances he gets, he has the biggest chance of scoring and, with how good he is, he will score goals, but we all have to score goals.
“Of course nobody wants to be called a one-man team, if it’s meant seriously,” he added.
“I don’t know if it was, but if it was, then it’s a team performance and I think, like the manager said, if you have respect you probably don’t say it. But maybe it was a joke.
“I think over the last few seasons it’s been almost the same team every season. We know each other very well. There are strong links between all the players and a good feeling going into training and going into the games. We’ve got something special and I hope that’s what people on the outside see, and it’s what the squad feels.”
He continued: “I don’t think you should take anything personally. I’m not sure how it’s been said. I think everybody knows that now you should take it with a gram of salt and see what it really is. I haven’t read anything about it really so I don’t know what’s really going on, what the argument is really.”
Next up for Eriksen and Spurs is a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu for Tuesday’s Champions League group game against European Champions Real Madrid.
“I haven’t won there yet so I need to change something,” said the Dane, who lost 4-1 at Real with Ajax in 2012.
“Of course it’s a special stadium, a special place. Playing against Real will always be special for any footballer with the history they have and the players there so it will be a good test, to see how far we’ve really come.
“Quality and belief — I think we have both so I don’t think we should be scared of anything there.”
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.