LEICESTER, England (AP) — Harry Kane scored four goals in Tottenham’s 6-1 rout of Leicester on Thursday, ensuring the Premier League runner-up is closing out the season with a swagger despite missing out on the title.
Kane will enter the final day of the season on Sunday in pole position to finish as top scorer, with the striker now on 26 league goals — two more than Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. Despite missing three months of the season through injury, Kane has netted 32 times in all competitions.
“It’s the first time I’ve scored four goals and it was a good moment to do it,” Kane said. “I was looking to get one or two goals at least and then hopefully take it into the last game, now I’m in the driving seat at the minute but there’s still one game to play so I’m not resting on my laurels.”
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said he has no concerns about holding on to Kane during the summer transfer window.
“We will keep the players that we want to keep,” Pochettino said. “Maybe we will sell the players that we want to sell. I think we are so, so, so calm about our big players and they are so happy here. We are building a very exciting project.”
Kane’s opener was set up by Son Heung-min, who scored Tottenham’s other two goals against deposed champion Leicester to become the highest-scoring South Korean in a single European season. Son has 21 goals in all competitions this season.
Tottenham, which plays at relegated Hull in the final day of the season on Sunday, is seven points behind newly crowned champion Chelsea.
Chelsea has taken the trophy off Leicester, which astonishingly won the title last season but collapsed this year and is currently 11th.
Tottenham was rampant as it sealed a 13th win in its last 16 games in all competitions, having already cemented second place.
Tottenham challenged Leicester for the title last season, before eventually finishing third. Interim Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare saw his side roll over on Thursday.
Apart from an error from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris — which allowed Ben Chilwell to score — the visitors were always on top with Leicester now destined to finish mid-table.
Leicester was on the back foot instantly when Son shot over before Jamie Vardy fired straight at Lloris.
Tottenham dominated possession and Son provided Kane with the opener in the 25th minute.
Leicester defender Christian Fuchs was caught out by Toby Alderweireld’s deep ball which allowed Son to burst into the area. With Fuchs trailing behind, Son teed up Kane to sweep in from six yards.
Dele Alli’s low header was then saved by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as Spurs began to raise the tempo, sensing Leicester was there for the taking.
The hosts were enterprising enough but, aside from Vardy’s pace, rarely troubled the visitors who doubled their lead in style 10 minutes before the break.
An intricate move on the edge of the area opened up the Foxes, allowing Alli to spring the trap and his lovely lofted pass allowed Son to find the bottom corner with a first-time volley.
Tottenham threatened to overwhelm the Foxes and Schmeichel saved Eric Dier’s header before the hosts could grab a breather at halftime.
Dier needed to produce a fine block to deny Marc Albrighton and the quiet Riyad Mahrez fired at Lloris before Chilwell pulled a goal back in the 59th.
It was messy from Spurs as Lloris rushed out to beat Vardy to the ball but only succeeded in deflecting it off the striker to Wilfred Ndidi. The midfielder worked it to Chilwell, who managed to squeeze the ball beyond Dier on the line, only for Kane to immediately restore Spurs’ two-goal advantage to spark a rout.
Kane headed in from point-blank range after more neat work from Son and the South Korean grabbed his own double in the 71st. It was no more than Son deserved as neat footwork gave him space on the edge of the box and he curled low beyond Schmeichel.
Vincent Janssen had a goal disallowed for offside before Kane completed a deserved hat trick when he blasted in from 20 yards (meters) in the 88th. Kane had not finished when he scored again in stoppage time, with almost a carbon copy of his third, beating Schmeichel low to his right from the edge of the area.
It left Shakespeare unsure whether the humbling defeat would affect his chances of staying in the role for next season as Claudio Ranieri’s permanent successor in charge of Leicester.
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the owners about that,” Shakespeare said. “What I would say is that I think if we’d won, I’m not sure that would have done my chances any good as well.”