Spurs' Harry Kane not yet like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo - Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said Harry Kane is not yet at the same level as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo but still has room for improvement.
Kane made it 11 goals in six games for club and country with a hat trick in the 3-0 Champions League win at Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday.
The England striker has said he is motivated by a desire to emulate Messi and Ronaldo, and his statistics in this calendar year are comparable to the Liga superstars.
Kane has 25 league goals in 23 games in 2017, compared with Messi's 34 in 27 and Ronaldo's 15 in 20, and boasts a better shots-to-goals ratio than both.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Pochettino said: "I never said he was better than Cristiano.
"Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are at a different level, they are the best. They've shown in the last five or 10 years that they are on another level.
"I only want to say that Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world, because he's showing that.
"We cannot put such pressure on Harry because he's still so young. Messi and Cristiano have completely different styles to Harry. Harry is a striker, a killer. They are killers too, but in different positions, with different styles.
"It will not help Harry to start comparing him to this type of player."
Former Spurs player and manager Glenn Hoddle has said Kane could become the club's "greatest ever" striker, and Pochettino added: "I agree with Glenn, who is a legend here. Who better to assess Harry?"
The current boss stressed that Kane "can improve" and added: "With his potential and how he is as a professional, he has a gap to improve a lot."
Kane has won the Premier League Golden Boot in the last two seasons but faces even more competition from Chelsea's Alvaro Morata, Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
Asked where Kane ranked among the Premier League's best strikers, Pochettino said: It's a tricky question. If you ask [Chelsea coach Antonio] Conte, Morata is the best. If you ask [Manchester City's Pep] Guardiola, it's Aguero or Jesus. If you ask Jose [Mourinho of Manchester United], it's Lukaku.
"It's so difficult to say who is the best. There's not too many at the same level you're talking about."
Pochettino will be without the suspended Serge Aurier and injured Mousa Dembele, Victory Wanyama, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose for Saturday's Premier League visit to Huddersfield.
Dembele, who has been struggling with a long-term foot problem, complained of an ankle injury after the Carabao Cup win over Barnsley last week and Pochettino said: "For Saturday, it's impossible for him to play.
"We hope it won't be a big problem, but I think he needs time to recover. We need more information, to speak with the doctor, and then see what happens in the next few weeks."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.