Jose Mourinho understands why Harry Kane was rushed back for last season's Champions League final but is unwilling to take any risks with the Tottenham striker's latest injury. England captain Kane has been out since January 1 with a hamstring tear that required surgery.
Spurs have struggled for goals in their star man's absence, although Mourinho revealed on Friday the 26-year-old is ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation and could feature in the closing weeks of the campaign. There will be no repeat of last season's perceived risk, however, when Kane played in the Champions League final less than eight weeks after suffering significant ankle ligament damage.
"Tottenham doesn't end in May," Mourinho told reporters. "There is Tottenham for many, many, many years, so we would never risk Harry in a difficult situation, no chance. He is going to be back when he is ready to be back."
That is not to say the Spurs coach has an issue with the call made under previous boss Mauricio Pochettino, though, as he understands the player's desire to feature in a major final. "I would play only with one leg," he said.
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"If I was a player playing the Champions League final, I would play only with one leg. With crutches. How can you stop a player playing a Champions League final? Every player breaks protocol to play a Champions League final, to play a World Cup final. There are some matches where protocol means nothing. Nothing. So, if that was the case, I think it isn't the case to blame Harry or the medical department, it's just the nature of how football is."
Spurs had Fernando Llorente to fill the void in 2018-19, and Mourinho believes they would again have coped without Kane had Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko been available for selection. "Even without 'Kane number two', our squad, without any problem, is a squad that can answer to the problems," he said.
"Like last season, when Harry was injured, the squad managed to answer. Okay, I know Llorente played some matches, but they had Son, they had Erik Lamela, they had Sissoko, they had Lucas Moura. Our problem went to a limit because it was an accumulation. If instead of Kane, Sissoko and Son, it's Kane, a left-back and a right-back [out injured], our problems would not be of this dimension."