TOTTENHAM Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas was embarrassed and ashamed after his side suffered their worst defeat since 1996, slumping to a 6-0 loss at Manchester City yesterday.
Jesus Navas set the tone for a one-sided afternoon at the Etihad Stadium, scoring after just 13 seconds following Hugo Lloris’ awful clearance.
Sandro scored an own goal, with Sergio Aguero netting either side of the interval, before Alvaro Negredo added another and Navas wrapped up a comfortable win in stoppage time as Spurs slipped to ninth in the table.
“To lose 6-0 is extremely embarrassing,” Villas-Boas said. “We have high expectations for the season and losing to a rival by that scoreline is always difficult. A defeat like this tends to stick more to your career than the good things you achieve.
“Our gameplan, our confidence and motivation was affected after we suffered a goal in 13 seconds. It is a bad moment. We have to be ashamed.”
After spending £108 million in the summer, much of it admittedly generated by the world-record sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Villas-Boas knows he is under pressure to produce positive results. With only nine league goals – the same number as Fulham – it is easy to see where Tottenham’s problems lie, even though their difficulties on Sunday afternoon were at the other end of the field.
“City made the most of their opportunities. We didn’t make the most of any opportunities we had,” Villas-Boas added. “We reacted well to conceding that first goal, but the second and third straight afterwards put us in a very poor position to come back.”
The damage was inflicted early, with Navas floating home a superb effort after Aguero’s initial shot had been saved. The timing of the effort – just 13 seconds – equalled that of Asmir Begovic’s clearance at the Britannia Stadium earlier in the campaign, although it was short of the Premier League record 9.9 seconds it took Ledley King to score for Tottenham against Bradford in December 2000.
Negredo had a claim on City’s second, again after Aguero had been denied. However, as the Spain man’s effort had ricocheted off target after striking Younes Kaboul before striking Sandro and going in, it will surely not count as his tenth of the season.
It was part of an eventful opening period for Sandro, who was also booked in addition to being sick by the side of the pitch, a condition most Tottenham fans must have felt by half-time.
Given that City’s opening two goals had come as a result of misdirected clearances by returning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, at least the third was all their own work. Navas sent a low cross to the edge of the six-yard area where Aguero superbly flicked it into the far corner.
Villas-Boas resisted the temptation to haul players off before the break, as West Ham manager Sam Allardyce had done at Upton Park on Saturday during their 3-0 defeat by Chelsea.
He did, however, introduce Emmanuel Adebayor, who is still being paid a hefty sum by City, during the interval. Not that it did much good. The striker barely touched the ball as City scored twice more within ten minutes of the restart.
Aguero finished off the first. The credit went to Yaya Toure after he collected Negredo’s pass and rampaged through the Spurs defence before squaring for the Argentina man.
Negredo was soon on the scoresheet too, turning Michael Dawson brilliantly after Fernandinho had supplied the pass, before drilling past Lloris.
Nasri’s impudent chip flicked the bar, and Toure fired over as the visitors’ defence opened up again.
At the other end, Costel Pantimilon had little to do, which does not bode well for Joe Hart getting his place back any time soon.
The match ended as it had started, Navas on target again to condemn Tottenham to their worst defeat since a 7-1 hammering at Newcastle almost 17 years ago.
For City manager Manuel Pellegrini, it was another convincing home win in a bizarre campaign where his team are unbeatable at the Etihad Stadium but struggle to overcome anyone on their travels. City have now scored 26 goals in six home games, with 13 in their last two. In between, they have lost at rock-bottom Sunderland. But Pellegrini is confident the Blues will soon start to pick up similar results on the road.
“This team at home score more than four goals a game,” he said. “The problem is away. I don’t think we play so differently away from home. We normally have more chances than the home team. They don’t have a lot of possession of the ball. But, for different reasons, we have not had the results we wanted. I am absolutely sure if we continue to play like this we will get results away from home.”
Pellegrini confirmed captain Vincent Kompany is set to resume training later this week after finally recovering from a thigh injury that has kept him on the sidelines for almost two months.
And he offered a way back into the first team for England goalkeeper Hart, who has now been on the bench for five successive games but will return for Wednesday’s Champions League encounter with Viktoria Plzen. “Joe Hart will play on Wednesday,” he said.