Nuno Espirito Santo solves Jose Mourinho issue to help Harry Kane as Tottenham beat Wolves

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There were signs Nuno Espirito Santo can solve an issue that plagued Jose Mourinho as Harry Kane returned to scoring form in Tottenham’s Carabao Cup win over Wolves. Nuno had called on his players to help Kane by improving in their build-up play, and his midfielders played their part in an impressive first-half showing from Spurs before Wolves’ comeback forced the match into penalties.

Spurs fans will hope Kane’s goal midway through the first half will prove a turning point for the England striker, who had previously failed to score this season other than his double against Pacos Ferreira in the Europa Conference League.

Kane was criticised for drifting away from the penalty box too often in Sunday’s 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea, while many observers questioned whether his form had been affected by Manchester City’s failed pursuit of the striker over the summer.

Ahead of the Wolves clash, Nuno had defended Kane, saying his team-mates needed to do more to help him by being better in the build-up and creating more opportunities.

And his midfielders answered the call in the first half against Wolves, with Tanguy Ndombele earning his opener through his sheer determination, while Dele Alli produced a pinpoint pass to play in Kane for the second goal.

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Wolves were to find their way back into the game, with Leander Dendoncker pulling one back against the run of play in the first half before Daniel Podence equalised on the hour mark after Ndombele had lost the ball in the middle of the park.

The fightback from Bruno Lage’s side showed that Spurs’ familiar defensive failings continue to be a pressing concern for Nuno.

But in that opening period, he achieved something that Mourinho never did by getting Alli, Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso to click together in a way they hadn’t been able to under The Special One.

Podence’s equaliser soon led to the introduction of Son Heung-min as Nuno sought to give his side more attacking impetus.


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And there was certainly no problem with Kane’s positioning when the South Korea international whipped in a cross from the left, only for John Ruddy to tip the England striker’s header just over the bar.

Tottenham had a let-off late on when Ruben Neves’ dipping shot hit the crossbar, with the midfielder’s free-kick deflected over just a few minutes later.

Son tried to carve out a couple more chances to no avail, with the game ultimately heading towards penalties.

And perhaps boosted by his first-half goal, Kane confidently despatched his spot-kick to get the penalty shoot-out off to the perfect start for Spurs.

Sergio Reguilon and Bryan Gil also scored, and while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg saw his spot-kick saved by Ruddy, ultimately it didn’t matter.

Pierluigi Gollini saved Dendoncker’s kick in between misses from Neves and Conor Coady as Nuno’s side secured their place in the last 16 – with Kane now happily back on the goal trail.

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