Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho handed his squad a backhanded compliment after referencing their recent “awful performance.”
Tottenham steadied their ship after their Europa League disappointment with a vital victory at Aston Villa.
The opening 20 minutes left a lot to be desired, but Spurs were not punished by their off-form counterparts.
Handed a rare league start, Carlos Vinicius made the most of his opportunity after being in the right place at the right time to tap home.
Kane also notched to give Tottenham a major boost in their quest for Champions League qualification.
FULL MATCH REPORT: Kane nets as Tottenham recover from woeful start to boost top four hopes
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Mourinho said: “It was a good result. Total credit to the players. An incredible attitude and effort.
“Some of the guys it was almost like a debut, like Tanganga or Rodon who have not had many games. Some like Harry played 120 minutes 48 hours ago.”
Delivering a backhanded complement to his squad, the Portuguese outlined his hopes that his players will replicate their maximum effort every game – not just after an “awful performance.”
“They gave everything. The team was a team. The next challenge as a team is not to play like this as a reaction to an awful performance. Playing with this state of mind, this soul, should be a permanent thing.
“It was a pity I could only make three changes. If we could make eight, we would have because everyone was within their limits – we saw tiredness and cramps.
“Football is not easy. The individual interests are around. The agents are around. The connections between agent and press are around.
“Instead of a feeling of team empathy – I do for you, you do for me – you need time to develop this in a group. Society and psychological profile of young people is not an easy one.
“I want to be proud of my players, no matter the result. I was proud of players during my career many times after defeats. I was not proud last Thursday or at the Emirates.
“I can’t do it alone. I have to do it with my club, with the players in the dressing room. Tonight I’m really happy with what they did.”
Last week was “embarrassing” – Kane
Tottenham striker Kane also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “Massively [needed]. The last couple of games have not been good enough. We knew we had to bounce back. We didn’t want to go away with three losses before the international break.
“The boys put in a great shift and we deserved it.
“The last couple of games we dropped below our standards. It was nice to get it back today – everyone fighting, putting their bodies on the line. That’s what we need to do for the rest of the season to give the top four a push.
“[The last week] was embarrassing for us.
“Even at the back we didn’t give away too many chances. Villa have been great this year so we knew this would be tough.”