Antonio Conte has told Harry Kane that trophies rather than records will define his place in Tottenham history and that his managerial priority is to convince the players that they will win silverware together.
Kane, who scored twice in Saturday’s 3-2 win against Manchester City, is targeting Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League goalscoring record and Conte wants him to not just score 87 more to reach Shearer’s tally of 260 but do it while lifting trophies.
“We are talking about a world-class striker – he has to be ambitious,” said Conte. “Records are important but, at the same time, it’s also important at the end of your career to lift trophies.
“Because only [when] you win and lift trophies, can you go into the story of the club. My task is to try and improve him. It’s not easy because the space [to improve] is not so much. But I still think he’s improving.”
Kane wanted to join Manchester City last summer but, having replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November, Conte acknowledged that the onus was now on him to convince the England captain to stay. Conte has won six league titles as a manager in Italy and England since 2012 and also won every major club trophy as a player with Juventus between 1991 and 2004.
“I understand very well the psychological aspect of the players,” he said. “There is only one way to convince this sort of player. It is to work, convince of your football knowledge, and to improve them. Only in this way you have the respect of your players.
“When I became a coach, my first target was to say that we won’t make mistakes that others made with you. It was not just Kane, it was [also] the other players – was to tell them that there is a coach here that is the right coach if we want to try to be competitive or build something important, or if your mind is fixed on lifting a trophy.
“It won’t be easy. I think that Harry, like the other players, understood. They also understood that the club wanted to give an input by appointing a coach that in the past won things. But I understand then that every single player has to make the best decision at the end of the season.”