What Nuno Espirito Santo did after Tottenham’s win against Man City and that Harry Kane chant


The chant rang out around the ground as the Tottenham fans grew more and more confident in their players and the impending result against the reigning Premier League champions.

“Are you watching, Harry Kane?” rumbled across the huge stands as many of the 58,262 fans inside The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium asked the same question in unison.

Of course one match will not decide the England captain’s fate but this game will have an impact on his future in different ways.

Manchester City forced just a single meaningful save from Spurs goalkeeper and skipper Hugo Lloris when the Frenchman comfortably parried away a Kevin De Bruyne shot from outside the box late in the game.

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Pep Guardiola’s side need a striker and if that fact wasn’t clear enough before this defeat to Nuno Espirito Santo‘s worthy winners then it is glaringly so now, not only to City but also to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

He would have been watching on from his seat high above the pitch, seeing exactly how much the Manchester side need the man that Tottenham didn’t to win the game.

In fact since Guardiola called Tottenham “the Harry Kane team”, Spurs have beaten his Manchester City side four times at home and Kane has played just once, having also come off injured early on in another game.

There are conflicting reports over whether Kane was in the stadium to watch the game, having been training at Hotspur Way on Sunday morning to increase his fitness levels.

Many of the Spurs staff inside the ground did not see him and Espirito Santo admitted he did not know what the striker’s afternoon plans were following the training session, but there are some suggestions he may have watched the game from one of the boxes inside the ground.

Hopefully Kane took the chants towards him in the manner many of the fans would have intended them, getting him to notice that Nuno Espirito Santo appears to be capable of getting this Tottenham team playing in an entertaining and organised way with this 4-3-3 formation, working hard and winning their first big match.

Kane will go down in history as one of Tottenham’s greatest ever players and few Spurs fans want him to leave. They want him to be the spearhead of what, with the transfers done and to come this month, could be an exciting new-look side finally getting that rebuild.

Amid the backdrop of the Kane saga and the later arrivals of some players following the Euros and Copa America, Espirito Santo has done a remarkable job in a short space of time in bringing a fractured squad back together again.

On Sunday afternoon, there was a connection again between the returning noisy fans and the players, one that has been missing for a long time. They felt proud of each other again.

Espirito Santo demands high levels of commitment from his players and that matches the fans’ requirements.

Having two of their own out there in the excellent Japhet Tanganga and 20-year-old Oliver Skipp, who showed he’s ready for the biggest matches, only helped forge that bond on Sunday afternoon.

Espirito Santo deserves credit for his work within just a month or so of arriving at the club and you get the sense it’s just the beginning of what he wants to do with Spurs.

“We are only in the start of our work together,” he said. “It was the first game and we had good games in pre-season and the boys are working really hard.

“I think we have to be able to create and build a foundation that can take through the whole season.”

Some within Spurs have described the Portuguese behind the scenes as being somewhere between Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho in his personality and the way he works with players and it’s hard not to make that same judgement when it comes to the way his fledgling team played on the pitch.

There was the aggressive pressing and high fitness levels that became a trademark under Pochettino, allied to the counter-attacking speed of the Mourinho era, something also employed under the Argentine in the big games.

Tottenham fans had a clear message for Harry Kane in the 1-0 win over Man City
Tottenham fans had a clear message for Harry Kane in the 1-0 win over Man City

The performance against Arsenal a week before suggested that Espirito Santo’s Tottenham will have plenty of ways of playing, not just relying on counter-attacking.

After a season and summer when positive vibes have not exact flowed around Spurs, the Portuguese has stepped in and shown excitement and determination to grab the opportunity that eventually came his way.

Espirito Santo is a quiet but warm man, always looking to observe, study and understand before making his feelings known and he is efficient with his words, getting immediately to the point when he does speak.

The new Spurs boss ended the night a contented man. He walked out with his family around the floodlit pitch long after the match and his media duties had ended.

For a man who spoke emotionally last year of the agony of being separated from his loved ones during lockdown as they were stuck in Portugal, this was a fitting moment for them all to enjoy as a family as they drank in the occasion and what had been such a big statement of an opening victory for him.

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The Portuguese was not the choice of most of the Tottenham fans, particularly after that tough final season with Wolves, but he would have won many over on Sunday and earned himself plenty of patience for the weeks ahead.

They were already shouting his name and giving him a round of applause when he came out of the tunnel for his pre-match interview, a moment of connection that appeared to genuinely touch him.

After the game, Espirito Santo fully enjoyed that precious time with his family, taking photos to commemorate his first Premier League game and victory inside the huge stadium.

He knows there is still much to be done, particularly having seen where others have come unstuck before him, but as opening notes go, this was a big one to hit.

Whether Harry Kane remains to sing from his hymn sheet will depend firstly on just how much Manchester City want him and then how much Tottenham want to keep him.

The fans will hope he stays and gives Espirito Santo a chance to build something new and exciting with the prolific striker at its sharp end.





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