Peter Crouch claimed that Tottenham’s shock Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb could push star strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min further out the Spurs exit door.
Jose Mourinho’s side threw away their two-goal lead from the first-leg to crash out of Europe thanks to Mislav Orsic’s hat-trick, the last of the Croatian’s goals coming in the second-half of extra-time.
The result means Spurs – who are six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea – face an uphill struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League in the back end of the season, with Crouch claiming that both Kane and Son should not even be playing in the Europa League.
Peter Crouch claims Tottenham’s Europa League exit could push Harry Kane to a Spurs exit
Spurs were dumped out of Europe after throwing away a two-goal first-leg lead on Thursday
The former Spurs striker told BT Sport: ‘Going out of Europe tonight, their season is hanging by a thread. When I look at someone like Harry Kane trudging off the pitch, I’m thinking – he’s Champions League, he shouldn’t even be playing in this competition.
‘He’s a Champions League player, he should be there talking alongside Lewandowski, Haaland, Mbappe… (and) Kane. He should be up there with those (players). He’s gone out to Dinamo Zagreb today and that’s the worrying thing – where’s his head at?
‘It’s not just the manager, (it’s) the players. Son (and) Kane, players who deserve to be playing at a higher level than Europa League. Of course they are loyal to Tottenham and we all hope they will be, but games like that certainly don’t help.’
Crouch claims Kane should be playing in the Champions League with Europe’s biggest stars
The former England striker also fears for Kane’s (left) Spurs strike partner Son Heung-min
Fellow BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton claimed that Kane may be tempted to quit Spurs due to a lack of winning trophies.
The north Londoners are in the Carabao Cup final next month against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, but Sutton believes not even a shock victory against the Premier League leaders may be enough.
Sutton said on Thursday night: ‘If you’re Harry Kane and you’ve got any ambition – you want to be at a club where you’re going to win trophies. Is the League Cup going to be enough?’
Mourinho’s men took a 2-0 lead to the Croatian capital on Thursday night but Orsic’s second-half double forced the game into extra-time.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho may risk losing two of his star strikers after Thursday’s loss
The Zagreb forward then hit a devastating winner in extra-time to send Spurs packing.
England captain Kane is Spurs’ second-highest goalscorer in the club’s history with 214 strikes and has formed a devastating partnership with South Korean forward Son, who has scored 18 goals in each of his last two seasons.
But Spurs’ latest exit could see both attacking stars look elsewhere to gain success despite several years of service in north London.
Defeat on Thursday damages an already difficult week for Mourinho’s Spurs, who were left reeling from last weekend’s north London derby defeat to rivals Arsenal.
Glenn Hoddle claims Spurs are now heading backwards after starting the season strongly – with the north Londoners even topping the Premier League table in December.
Hoddle told BT Sport: ‘On the last two performances you have got to say they have gone backwards, they are not treading water, they have actually gone backwards. They have got to look at themselves tonight.
Glenn Hoddle claimed Spurs are now regressing and are not showing enough heart and desire
‘There wasn’t enough heart or desire there. When you put yourselves under that sort of pressure, go and perform under it. They didn’t, they got nervous.
‘People were kicking the ball up in the air, there were ridiculous things happening. They lost the plot but they also lost their heart and their desire to do something about it.’
Mourinho came out after the game and apologised to the Tottenham supporters for the disappointing slump and exit, claiming his side lacked the attitude their Croatian opponents showed on Thursday.
He told BT Sport: ‘For the respect I have for my career and my job, every match is important. For every Tottenham fan at home every match matters. Another attitude is needed. To say I feel sad is not enough. What I feel is much more than sadness.
Mourinho apologised to the Tottenham supporters after his side’s disappointing slump
‘I can only apologise to the Tottenham supporters. I hope they feel the same way I feel. Today is live or die and in this moment we die. In some other matches I have the same feeling. Until the last day of the season we have to try and do our best.’
The Spurs boss insisted he had done everything to prepare his players for what to expect from Zagreb and match-winner Orsic, who ended the night as the hat-trick hero.
‘We were not caught by surprise,’ said Mourinho. ‘Before the game I told the players to play to win. I told them to refuse a feeling that it’s OK if we draw or lose 1-0 or 2-1. I told them to play to be dominant. At half time even at 0-0 I told them don’t do that.
‘My players, they watch and watch and watch Orsic actions during his career. We prepared with the clips and the goals Orsic scored.
‘I saw them all and my players watched them all so I don’t know what to say, only that the first goal I watched it before, the second goal I watched it before and the third goal I watched it before.’