Ange Postecoglou reflected on a tough afternoon for his Tottenham Hotspur side who were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa, stating that the “fine margins” ultimately separated both sides.
Three losses on the bounce has seen Spurs topple from the summit of the Premier League all the way down to fifth, four points adrift of league leaders Arsenal. The dramatic 4-1 loss to Chelsea in which James Maddison and Micky Van de Ven picked up long-term injuries and both Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie picked up suspensions has utterly derailed Spurs’ swift start to the season.
Narrow defeats to Wolves and now Aston Villa suggest that Spurs have been hard done but there’s no escaping the wastefulness they are now starting to develop in front of goal.
They started the game on the front foot against Villa on Saturday and took a deserved lead through Giovani Lo Celso’s fierce strike but failed to add to their tally as they squandered several glorious chances and in doing so- for the first time this season- illuminated the damaging nature of Harry Kane’s departure in the summer.
Chance creation has been a noticeable improvement with this new-look Spurs side, but they were nowhere near prolific enough on the weekend. Postecoglou was pleased with his team’s overall performance though and said they were unlucky not to separate themselves from Villa when they were on top in the game.
He said: “Yeah, again, the outcome is obviously disappointing. Disappointing for our fans and particularly disappointing for our players because I felt the players, we had out there did a fantastic job playing the football we want to play.
“On any other day, it’s probably a game we win comfortably. It’s about those fine margins in football sometimes.
“Not happy with the defeat but as a manager when you put a team out there, what you’re looking for is some real belief and intent and the team we want to be, and I saw loads of that today.”
Another element of misfortunate was the injury that Rodrigo Bentancur picked up in the second half. Arguably the best in the team at progressing the ball, Bentancur has been another pivotal player for Spurs, and he now faces a spell on the sideline- with Postecoglou bemoaning yet another injury that he has to contend with.Embed from Getty Images
He said on the severity of the injury: “Yeah, not sure. It is his ankle, I think.
“It wasn’t a great tackle. I thought he started the game so well and I think it was the reason we got a real good foothold on the game.
“He’s such a creative player. It’s the last thing we needed, another injury. So disappointed to lose him but we’re yet to see the extent of it.”
An injury crisis is certainly developing at Tottenham, and it was emphasised by the fact that there were two goalkeepers on the bench on the weekend.
The absence of key personnel coupled with the misfortune in front of goal is evidently why Spurs have stagnated so much over the past three weeks. However, Postecoglou remains happy with his team’s progression and states that they are still in the building phase.Embed from Getty Images
“We’ve just got to make sure the players stay focused on what’s important right now and you need to win games of football to keep yourself in the mix to be in a strong position come the end of the year, but right now we’re still building a side,” he said.
“What’s more important is the way forward has to be with what the end goal is in mind and today was about trying to play the football we want to play.
“If we fell short, we fell short but I didn’t think we fell short today. I thought it was just fine margins for us and not getting the rewards.”