Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho delivered an extraordinary four-minute response detailing his record of working with top strikers, after pundit Paul Merson claimed Harry Kane would struggle under the Portuguese's management.
Kane was kept quiet in his first outing since tearing his hamstring on New Year's Day as Spurs restarted their Premier League season with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Friday.
The England captain completed the 90 minutes but recorded just one shot – a blocked free-kick – prompting Merson to tell Sky Sports that Kane should have a 'serious think' about his future at the end of the campaign as he is unlikely to be prolific in a Mourinho-led team.
Ahead of Tottenham's next match against West Ham on Tuesday evening, Mourinho defended his main man and his own record of getting the best out of strikers.
"I feel a bit strange [about] some analysis and some comments," Mourinho told his virtual press conference, via Evening Standard.
"Especially because it looks for me that the beginning of some comments and analysis, they started from Paul. I have to say I respect a lot people like him and because I respect a lot, I want to be nice in my answer.
"In our case, Harry doesn’t play a game for six months. The record of goals that Harry has with me is easy for you, you just go to your data and it is easy to see how many matches Harry played with me and how many goals he scored."
Appearing to read from a prepared piece of paper, Mourinho then listed the goals per season averages for Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Didier Drogba - including some errors in calculation - under his management.
He continued: "I had one guy [Ronaldo] who is not bad. Plays for Juventus now. He played for me for three seasons. He scored 168 goals which gives an average of 56 goals per season."
"I had another guy that is also not bad, called Karim Benzema. He played for me three seasons. He was not always starting because he was quite young at the time. He scored for me 78 goals in three seasons, which gives a 26 goal average per season"
Mourinho also listed the goalscoring records of Diego Milito and Zlatan Ibrahimovic under his stewardship before concluding with some carefully worded advice for Merson.
"So, dear Paul, I have lots of respect for you. I think Harry Kane has no problems at all to score goals in my teams, especially when he is fit, fresh and has routines of playing. So that’s my message to somebody that I have lots of respect for."
Source : 90min