Mauricio Pochettino fears Harry Kane could miss the remainder of the season after suffering another ankle injury in Tottenham’s Champions League defeat of Manchester City.
The England captain, who was out for a more than a month after sustaining ligament damage in January, rolled his ankle and was then caught on it by Fabian Delph in the quarter-final first leg.
Spurs went on to win the game 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Son Heung-min.
Spurs boss Pochettino said: “If you see the action it is an action that can damage the ligament again. We need to check in the next few days.
“It is so painful. We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn’t look good.”
Asked if he was worried Kane’s season could be over, Pochettino said: “Yes.”
Kane left the stadium using crutches and with his foot in a protective boot.
Pochettino spoke to Delph after the incident, which occurred just before the hour.
Asked about that conversation, Pochettino said: “I tried to make him understand that it wasn’t the intention from Harry or him to damage each other. It was a tough action.
“I said to him, you were lucky – checking on the VAR, maybe technically it was a red card – but I think both were fighting for a ball and no intention to damage each other.”
Spurs now hold the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg at the Etihad Stadium but Pochettino, despite the deserved victory, still regards City as the favourites.
He said: “Of course I am so happy. I am happy with the performance and the way we approached the game.
“We still have a lot of work to do. Manchester City are still the favourites to win the Champions League and it is going to be tough.”
City were controversially awarded a penalty in the first half for handball against Danny Rose following a review of an incident by VAR. There was debate over whether the incident had been a clear and obvious error and over UEFA’s strict interpretation of the handball rule.
Spurs escaped damage as Hugo Lloris saved Sergio Aguero’s spot-kick.
Pochettino said: “I want to help VAR be a protocol to help the referee but today showed there is still a lot of work to do with the system.
“There are many things that we have to make clear. I think the direction of the game is going to change. I think it will not be like the sport we grew up watching.”
City, who are chasing an unprecedented quadruple this season, were below par but manager Pep Guardiola reviewed the performance in a positive light.
Guardiola said: “Except for a few chances we conceded on set-pieces and counter-attacks we controlled the game.
“We will see if we are going to change it a bit but, with our people, with our fans, our families, we will see.
“If we are not able to arrive in the last stages it is because it is a challenge. The situation is what it is.
“When we don’t play good I am the guy who says we didn’t play good, but I don’t have that feeling.”
Guardiola felt Tottenham’s goal would make City’s task in the second leg clearer.
He said: “With 0-0 you have to (think about whether to) ‘attack?’ ‘defend?’. Now we know what we have to do.”