Mauricio Pochettino is happy to welcome back Harry Kane from “the dark side” of football as Tottenham Hotspur prepare to face Aston Villa on Monday.
Kane ended a run of one goal in 13 appearances with a hat-trick in last weekend’s 5-1 win over AFC Bournemouth, a result that moved Spurs to within three points of the top four.
Pochettino believes Kane will learn from his barren spell but is delighted to have seen the England international battle through to rediscover his goalscoring touch.
“It’s a period that was new for him but it was important for him to experience the other side of football,” said the head coach. “When you are a striker and you are scoring goals, everything is nice and the sun is always shining – but when you stop scoring, everything is always dark.
“When things in football are good or bad, it is important to keep working hard and that was the key for him to start scoring again.”
Villa visit White Hart Lane without Tim Sherwood following his departure in the wake of their 2-1 defeat by Swansea City last Saturday.
Kevin MacDonald is in temporary charge as Villa pursue a long-term replacement.
MacDonald is not concerned by whoever takes over as he aims to deliver a result that could lift Villa off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table and restore some confidence to the players.
“Players do worry about where they are,” he said. “There is no divine right to stay in the Premier League. We start again. This is our first game of the season.
“The pride of the players is hurt because we’re bottom of the league. But they are determined.
“I have been told that I need to prepare the team for Monday. Whether Remi will be in position in the stand to watch, I don’t know.”
Spurs have no new injury concerns ahead of the match, meaning Son Heung-min (foot), Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli (both ankle) and Federico Fazio (hamstring) are expected to miss out.
Villa could welcome back Joleon Lescott from a knock but Micah Richards could be suspended after accepting a charge of misconduct from The Football Association following an incident in the tunnel against Swansea. Craig Gardner (ankle) is a doubt.
Tottenham Hotspur (from): Lloris, McGee, Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Rose, Trippier, Vertonghen, Walker, Wimmer, Alli, Dembele, Eriksen, Lamela, Mason, Onomah, Pritchard, Townsend, Winks, Kane, N’Jie.
Aston Villa (from): Bunn, Guzan, Steer, Amavi, Bacuna, Clark, Crespo, Hutton, Ilori, Lescott, Okore, Richards, Richardson, Senderos, Cole, Gardner, Gil, Gueye, Grealish, N’Zogbia, Sanchez, Sinclair, Veretout, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Ayew, Gestede, Kozak, Traore.
Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: D Bryan, S Bennett Fourth Official: G Scott
– Tottenham Hotspur have lost one of their last 13 Barclays Premier League matches against Aston Villa (W9 D3), although that defeat came last time out (1-0 at home in April 2015).
– At White Hart Lane, Villa have won once in their last six league visits, losing four and drawing one.
– Spurs are unbeaten in their last nine BPL matches (W4 D5) and remain the only side unbeaten since the opening day of the season (when they lost to Manchester United).
– Aston Villa are enduring the longest current losing streak of any BPL side, failing to pick up a single point in their last six matches.
– Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored four goals in his last four league matches, after netting just twice in his previous 14 in the competition.
– Villa’s Jordan Amavi has embarked on 58 dribbles in the BPL this season, the third-highest total overall and 26 more than any other defender.