Pochettino singles out surprise reason why Kane has lost scoring touch

By Coral Barry

Mauricio Pochettino is worried Harry Kane cannot score while wearing his protective mask ahead of the crunch derby clash with Arsenal.

The striker broke his nose during Tottenham’s FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace two weeks ago.

Kane has subsequently failed to score in each of the two games he has had to wear the mask – against Swansea and West Ham – and is due to endure the hindrance for at least another three weeks.

Pochettino has singled out the face gear as the culprit behind Kane’s minor dry spell and believes it is stunting the frontman’s creative juices.

“He’s playing with a mask,” explained the manager. “Sometimes it can disturb you — when you are creative.

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“Maybe it’s easier for (Chelsea defensive midfielder) Nemanja Matic or different players that play behind, because it’s not their problem.

“But you need to be sharp when you are offensive and creative. Sometimes it can disturb you a little bit.”

Kane had two chances to equalise during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Wednesday night, but could not produce his usual ruthlessness.

Creative spark: Spurs’ title charge could depend on Kane’s usually lethal right boot

The 22-year-old has already tucked away 16 league goals this season and insisted after the Swansea win last week that he had hardly noticed the mask during the game.

Another London club’s striker has also had to don a mask this season, but Diego Costa has appeared untroubled, scoring twice and providing two assists in the three games he has played while wearing it.

Losing to West Ham meant Tottenham missed the chance to go top of the table and ended an impressive six-game winning streak.

Victory at Saturday lunch-time could lift Spurs to the summit if league leaders Leicester lose at Watford.