Tottenham striker Harry Kane understands why Antonio Conte has questioned his side’s mentality.
Conte suggested some of his players “collapse” under the pressure after Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League thumping at Leicester, where a win would have put them back in the top four.
They did little to dispel that in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at AC Milan, which they lost 1-0 after an insipid attacking display.
Spurs have an unwelcome habit of failing to produce when it matters the most, with a Champions League final, two title challenges and a host of cup semi-finals in recent years, and Kane says it has to stop.
“We haven’t won a trophy for a long time. We’ve been in good moments, we’ve been close but for one reason or another we haven’t achieved what we wanted to achieve,” he said after the defeat at the San Siro.
“Leicester was disappointing because we were coming off the back of three wins in a row, a really good win against City and it was really the time to put our foot on the pedal, climb up the league and see what happens.
“To lose that type of game in the manner that we lost it was what hurt the most and I know that’s what hurt the boss the most. So hopefully that’s behind us and we don’t have any more performances like that.
“We can still lose games but we need to make sure we show the side that we showed in Milan. That should stand us in good stead.”
Spurs controlled large parts of the game, but lacked any real goal threat, meaning they were unable to recover from Brahim Diaz’s seventh-minute opener.
This Milan side are a far cry from the one that swept to the Serie A title last season, so turning the tie around at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three weeks is not out of the question.
Kane says Spurs should not feel too down about their defeat in Italy.
“It will still be a tough game, we know that,” he said. “We’re playing a good team but we felt like we controlled the game well and felt like we just lacked a bit of spark.
“Hopefully we can find that at home. We’ll go away, assess it and things we can improve on, because they still had a couple of chances but overall it’s not a night to get down about. We have to keep our heads high and look forward to the next one.
“Whenever you lose a game, there’s always disappointment but it was a tough game, away from home, against a good side, in the San Siro, good atmosphere.
“It’s a difficult place to play and I thought we definitely controlled the game really well in spells, we just lacked a bit of quality in their final third. But for sure we come away knowing there’s a lot to play for.”
Injuries to Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s suspension meant that youngsters Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr were handed first Champions League starts.
The pair, 22 and 20 respectively, acquitted themselves well in a hostile atmosphere and Kane says they should be proud of their performances.
“We were fully behind them and I think it’s important that the older or more experienced players make them feel as comfortable as possible,” he said.
“The boss said before the game, we completely trust them and go out there and enjoy playing at the San Siro against the more famous clubs in the world. They did that. They’ve been working hard.
“I’m sure they’ll both be disappointed we lost but they can be proud. We’ve got a lot of games coming up and I’m sure they are going to play a lot more than they have been. They need to get ready for that.”