Mauricio Pochettino insisted that there was no lack of effort from his Tottenham players after watching them miss the chance to go top of the table.
A win for Spurs at West Ham would’ve seen them club above Leicester to the summit of the Premier League with 10 games remaining, but the Hammers denied them by claiming a well-deserved 1-0 win thanks to Michail Antonio’s first-half winner.
However, Pochettino was reluctant to blame his players for the defeat, insisting that the conditions and state of the Upton Park pitch made it a tough night for his men.
“I think that we didn’t start the game in a good way,” he told BBC Sport. “We made some mistakes and the team didn’t feel free to play the way they play.
“West Ham is a strong, physical team which made it difficult and the conditions favoured them because the pitch wasn’t good.
“The players are sad and it is true that we are very motivated and excited to stay towards the top of the table. I feel proud of them as the effort was fantastic.”
Tottenham now head into a potentially crucial North London derby against Arsenal this weekend as the title race enters its home stretch, and Pochettino is adamant that his side will be ready for it.
“We need to be positive and it is important to be ready for Saturday,” he added.
“When you lose you can blame that the players are tired or whatever but the reality is that it was just a bad night for us to play the way we play tonight.”
Pochettino was asked if ‘title jitters’ played a part in the defeat, but he responded: “Was it nerves? No. We made some mistakes that normally we don’t make.
“We didn’t start well. The first half was poor, we never found solutions to play like we normally play.
“We had more freedom in the second half but if you don’t score it’s difficult to get the points.
“We were poor. We know. We are very disappointed. But the way the players fought in the second half was fantastic.”