Tottenham’s acting head coach Cristian Stellini jumped to the defence of Harry Kane following criticism of the striker’s antics in their Monday night clash at Everton.

Kane was accused of simulation after being struck in the face by Abdoulaye Doucoure midway through the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, with the England striker going to ground before the Everton midfielder was shown a straight red card.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher was among the fiercest critics of Kane, labelling his behaviour “embarrassing” and suggesting he contributed to Doucoure’s sending off. Kane was booked for his part in the melee but Everton boss Sean Dyche admitted a red card was justified.

Speaking at a press conference before Tottenham’s home game against Brighton on Saturday, Stellini slammed the pundits, claiming they have a lack of respect for Spurs.

He said: “It’s strange that some ex-players said some things I think [were] wrong about Harry because they’re ex-players and they understand the difference between seeing a situation like this in slow-motion and living this experience in real time.

“It’s completely different. Also Everton’s manager said it was a clear red card, so there’s no discussion about this.

“I don’t understand why some ex players spoke about this. I think they don’t agree with Tottenham, instead of not agreeing with Harry. I think they respect Harry but probably they don’t respect Tottenham enough.

“I have never seen him exaggerate something. I have seen him stand up after a strong tackle and we have a lot of examples. Also we spoke with the board of referees about some of the tackles Harry received and [some were] really bad.

“Also in the first half last match there was a strong tackle from a central defender but we don’t discuss this and Harry doesn’t discuss this.

“He’s an amazing player in every aspect, also in the behaviour he has. He respects the game a lot. It’s important to say this and everyone has to understand that they cannot challenge Harry on this aspect.”

The Brighton game on Saturday (3pm kick off) is a huge one for both sides in the context of the fight for Champions League qualification.

Roberto de Zerbi’s side are just four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham with two games in hand. Spurs trail fourth-placed Manchester United by three points having played a game more, with United and Newcastle both winning in midweek.

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