Mauricio Pochettino claimed the Philippe Coutinho transfer proved Tottenham must not take “special” Harry Kane for granted after the England striker continued his impressive form in front of goal.
The Spurs captain netted twice in quick succession to break the brave resistance of League One Wimbledon as Spurs won their FA Cup third-round tie 3-0 at Wembley.
Kane netted 56 times last year — and Pochettino backed him to again finish as the top scorer in Europe.
But the Tottenham boss then warned the £142million sale of Coutinho showed player-power rules in the modern game and that even a life-long Spurs fan like Kane cannot be made to stay.
“Harry is so special, because he loves Tottenham and he has always been at Tottenham,” said the Argentine.
“But we need to be clever how we manage him. The player needs to choose to stay here, you cannot force the player to stay here.
“I think Harry is this type of a player who can stay all his career at Tottenham because he loves Tottenham.
But in football, you cannot be sure. It is today. After tomorrow, you need to doubt. That is why it is so important to work together and try to achieve all that you want.
“That is why it is so important how you care for your players, it is why you need to anticipate things.
“It is so important to work with the human side and then to provide the player the club and the team an exciting moment and try and build a project that they feel comfortable with and they are happy to be with you.
“We treat all our players, our squad, not like a chair — like a person, a human.”
Kane signed a contract until 2022 last season, but Coutinho signed the same length deal last January then put in a transfer request during the summer window.
“It shows how difficult it is for the clubs to keep their best players,” Pochettino added.
“Today it is Coutinho but look what happened with Cristiano Ronaldo at Man United and Zidane at Juventus, Figo in Barcelona.”