Harry Kane returned to show Tottenham just what they were missing and left boss Jose Mourinho admiring “one of the best strikers in the world”.
Kane had missed the last two and a half games after coming off with an ankle injury at half-time against Liverpool and things could hardly have gone worse for Mourinho’s men in that time as they were beaten in all three to lose ground in the race for the top four.
But the England captain made a quickfire return and put Spurs on their way to a 2-0 win against West Brom with his 13th Premier League goal of the season, with Son Heung-min also finding the net in a much-needed three points.
Kane, who also has 11 assists this season, went joint second in the club’s all-time scorers list with Bobby Smith on 208 goals and is the key man for Mourinho.
“He is one of the best strikers in the world. Period,” Mourinho said. “There is nothing else to say. The team depends a lot on him, we can’t hide that.
“It’s the goals he can score, the assists he can make, the link play he has, that personality that players like that can have and he is always an important influence for us.
“Today I was promising I was not going to speak about individuals because I am so happy with the compromise of the players to win the game and close this negative series of three defeats, but with the question it is hard to run away from it. He is a very important player.”
Kane, who has a history of ankle problems, was expected to be ruled out for a few weeks but came back after only 10 days after he made it through training on Saturday.
Mourinho added: “Saturday he was training absolutely fine, perfectly normal. Of course a player of his level has the experience to make his own decision – ‘can I play, can I be on the bench, can I start the game?’
“He was clear, he was ready to do it and he did it without any problem.”
Sam Allardyce saw his West Brom team lose again and was unhappy with their defensive performance.
The Baggies are shipping far too many goals and – sitting 12 points from safety – Allardyce knows they are entering the last-chance saloon in their bid to beat the drop.
“I’m still facing the same problems 10 games in and those lapses in concentration keep hurting us,” he said. “Harry Kane being alone in our box amazes me but there you go. Son and Harry Kane have scored because of our weaknesses there.
“There is no lack of effort from this group of players, there is no one not trying, I can’t point the finger at anyone for not giving what they have got.
“I am sick of going on about it, it means I won’t be sleeping too well unfortunately. Very, very quickly we will have to start beating any team we come across.
“When we play the big teams we will have to win, that is coming across now with the last 15 games coming and we have to start against Manchester United.
“We have to beat Manchester United like Sheffield United did, like Burnley beat Liverpool, like Brighton beat Liverpool. It is going to have to happen to us very soon.”