LIVERPOOL — Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has said he believes securing qualification from a tough Champions League group stage will be “a big statement” of intent.
Spurs have challenged for the Premier League title for the past two years but came up short in last season’s Champions League, beating only CSKA Moscow and finishing third in their group behind Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen.
This year, Spurs have been drawn alongside holders Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Cypriot champions APOEL, and begin against Dortmund at Wembley on Wednesday.
Kane, who became the 17th player to score 100 goals for the club in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Everton, said: “We’ve got to test ourselves against the best if we want to be one of the top teams in Europe. You’ve got to see where you are, and all the lads are looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be an amazing atmosphere at Wembley [on Wednesday]. It’s really going to feel like a big Champions League night, so we’ve got to perform on the big stage.
“We have to prove it. We’re not there yet. We’ve got to learn from last year’s campaign. I think the fact we’re playing teams like Madrid and Dortmund will help us because it will be a big motivation to try to beat those teams.
“We didn’t do great last year, so if we can get through this group, it will be a big statement for the club, considering Real Madrid and Dortmund are two of the biggest teams in Europe.
“We want to have a good Champions League campaign this year.”
The comfortable win at Everton, who have lofty ambitions of their own, left Kane feeling that an under-the-radar Spurs now have the quality to be in the Premier League title conversation again.
“I think teams are spending money and buying big players, big names, and we left it late in the transfer window to get the players we wanted,” he said.
“Now we’ve got a good, bulky squad. People might not talk about us, but that suits us. We just get on with our jobs and put in performances and then, come the business end, we’re normally there or thereabouts fighting for the title.
“All these individual records are good but the most important thing for me is to try to win club trophies — Premier Leagues, FA Cups. That’s what we’ve got to try to do.”
Kane admitted that his 100th career goal, which came from an overhit cross, was “a lucky one” but added his 101st after the break and reserved praise for Christian Eriksen, who doubled Spurs’ lead.
“He’s an incredible player. He’s got an incredible football brain,” he said. “He knows where to be at the right times. His delivery, his passing is always spot on. As a striker, it’s perfect to play with someone like that.”
Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.