Harry Kane: Tottenham have proved Champions League doubters wrong
Tottenham Hotspur's qualification for the Champions League knockout phase as group winners has proved their doubters wrong, according to striker Harry Kane.
Kane scored his sixth goal in five group matches as Spurs won 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday to ensure they finished ahead of holders Real Madrid with a game to spare.
Spurs beat only CSKA Moscow in last season's competition and they were expected struggle again in a tough Group H that also included APOEL Nicosia but they are unbeaten with four wins from five matches ahead of the Cypriots' visit to Wembley next month.
"The group we had, a lot of people doubted us and we wanted to prove them wrong," said Kane. "Hopefully we can build on this now for the rest of the campaign."
Spurs fell behind to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's first-half strike in Dortmund but Kane equalised with his sixth goal in this season's competition before a brilliant bit of Dele Alli trickery set up Son Heung-Min to seal the victory.
Kane told BT Sport: "It's a tough place to come and to come from behind and win, so it's a fantastic night.
"It was a big goal. Being 1-0 down here it always was going to be tough, but we knew there was always going to be chances and if we could just take one then we'd be right in the game and we thought we could go on and win it.
"It was a good ball from Dele and I just got it out of my feet and through the defender's legs and was delighted to see it go in. And what a finish by Sonny for the second goal. Fantastic.''
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris was glad to see the club respond positively to Saturday's Premier League defeat to rivals Arsenal.
He said: "It was important to bounce back after the defeat in the derby and now it's important to refresh your mind and be ready because the next few games will be very important for us in the league and we need to make sure we get the points in the league.''
Meanwhile, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted he feared the worst when Tottenham's Champions League draw came out, but is delighted with his side's European campaign thus far.
This season is a far cry from this time last year, when Spurs' hopes of progress had already been ended in a kinder group that included Monaco, Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow.
"The season before, we were watching the draw and we thought: 'Oh Monaco, Leverkusen and CSKA' and we thought we had a chance to go to the next stage,'' Pochettino said.
"Then this draw we looked between us and thought: 'OK we are going to compete and we say nothing' -- and look now we are first, top of the table.
"It was difficult because Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and Apoel are always difficult but we try to enjoy and be competitive and try to win, that was the idea in every single game.
"I am happy for the result, to be top of the table, first, but we're looking forward to playing the next game.''
Pochettino could have opted to rest players given even a win over Apoel next month would have secured first place.
But he started Kane and Alli, both recently injured, as well as Danny Rose, who was left out of the squad completely for Saturday's defeat to Arsenal.
Rose certainly justified his place with a dynamic display down the left, while Alli set up Son's winner.
"I am so happy about him, of course,'' Pochettino said about Alli.
"For me the position he played today he can play easy because of the characteristics of him. He can play behind striker or like a No. 8 because he has the quality and talent and capacity to cope with different positions, he has that.
"But I'm not only proud of him but the whole team. Danny Rose was fantastic too. We must recognise that. In the second half, and the whole game, after 10 months injury it's difficult.
"The performance was great. I think the whole team was very good, fantastic performance.''
Dortmund, meanwhile, are now playing for third place and a spot in the Europa League as defeat piled more pressure on their coach Peter Bosz.
Bosz has seen his side win just once in six matches, with Saturday's derby game at home to Schalke taking on added significance.
"The trust is lacking, which makes sense if you have not won for so long'', Bosz said.
"We have to win the derby on Saturday, only the win counts. I think this match cannot come at a better time.''
He added: "The players lacked the confidence to keep playing football. I thought we did very well in the first half, we created chances. After the equalizer, unfortunately we didn't do it any more.''