Antonio Conte is not concerned about Harry Kane’s frame of mind after his penalty heartbreak during the World Cup, as Tottenham prepare to resume their Premier League campaign against Brentford.
The England captain scored one spot-kick but missed a decisive second against his domestic team-mate and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, as the Three Lions fell to a 2-1 loss in the quarter-finals.
It marked a frustrating end to the tournament for Kane, who failed to emulate his Golden Boot success from four years earlier, finishing with just two goals after the promise of greater achievements this time around.
Conte, who was a member of the Italy squad that lost the 1994 World Cup final to Brazil, is not worried over his frontman however, backing him to pick himself up and return to form.
“Honestly I am not worried about him. I saw him very well in these two days with us,” he said. “We’re talking about a world-class striker.
“In football, you can have exciting moments and you can also have a moment where you are a bit disappointed because you missed a second penalty. The first he scored.
“For sure the first period you are sad, but then you know that you have to move on. Football gives you the opportunity to have other chances to enjoy football.”
Opposite number Thomas Frank meanwhile is looking forward to seeing what Ivan Toney can deliver, despite the looming threat of sanctions over the striker.
The forward’s future is unclear after he was charged with multiple breaches of betting rules by the Football Association, with the possibility of a lengthy ban looming.
But Frank says his player’s focus remains singularly on his immediate future, adding: “He’s focused. He wants to score goals against Tottenham on Boxing Day and in the season ahead.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brentford – Ivan Toney
Only Erling Haaland (5) has scored at least twice in more different Premier League games than the Bees man so far this season (3), with him netting both goals in the Bees’ 2-1 win at Man City in their last match.
Spurs – Harry Kane
No player has scored more Premier League goals on Boxing Day than the Tottenham forward (9, level with Robbie Fowler), with the England striker scoring on all six of his appearances on this day.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Brentford are winless in their last 13 meetings with Tottenham in all competitions (D4 L9), since a 2-0 home win in the second tier in March 1948.
– Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five meetings with Brentford in all competitions (W3 D2), with Lloyd Owusu in a 1998 League Cup match the last Bees player to net against them.
– Tottenham have won just one of their last 15 away London derbies in the Premier League (D6 L8), and are winless in their last nine (D3 L6) since a 1-0 win at Fulham in March 2021.
– Brentford have lost just two of their last 13 league Boxing Day games (W7 D4), though they did lose 2-0 at Brighton in the Premier League last season.
– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 15 league Boxing Day games (W12 D3) since a 2-0 loss at Portsmouth in 2003. In English league history (top four divisions), only Aston Villa have ever had a longer run without defeat on 26th December (20 between 1890 and 1913).