Nuno Espirito Santo pointed to the “obstacles” as his Tottenham side were hammered 3-0 by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday lunchtime.
Spurs, who started the day top of the table, were second best all afternoon in south London as Spurs’ Portuguese boss Nuno tasted defeat in the Premier League for the first time.
Their cause was not helped by sending off of Japhet Tanganga 10 minutes into the second half. He and Wilfried Zaha clashed, prompting a huge melee which saw the pair booked. And three minutes later Tanganga picked up his second yellow card as he fouled Jordan Ayew and was sent off.
Spurs had already seen Eric Dier go off injured. Just 12 minutes into the match their one remaining, experienced centre-back stretched to reach a pass from Hugo Lloris and collided with a Palace man. Joe Rodon replaced him.
Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead from the penalty spot with 14 minutes remaining after substitute Ben Davies handled Conor Gallagher’s cross. Palace made it 2-0 in the final 10 minutes when sub Edouard scored with virtually his first touch after coming on, sweeping into the bottom corner.
Edouard then got the ball out of his feet and stroked home via a flailing touch from Hugo Lloris to wrap up the scoreline in stoppage time.
“We just look at the game. We had a lot of obstacles to overcame,” said Nuno. “I think we were in control of the game in the first half. We didn’t create much, but we didn’t allow too much.
“We spoke at half-time and the perspective was to improve, but it didn’t happen.”
Asked why he did not make any changes, the Spurs boss said: “They didn’t come on because I didn’t decide to bring them on. It was the right moment to make a sub but then we went down to 10 men so we needed to balance the team.”
Lack of creativity
Spurs saw Palace dominate possession 62% to 38% at Selhurst Park. And while that may be skewered by the sending off, Spurs were unable to create anything going forward.
They managed just three shots with one on target.
“It is a big concern, we had enough quality and talent to play better. We didn’t do it, credit to Palace they were aggressive and they didn’t allow too much time on the ball.
“We lost duels, many, many situations that I think we should do much better. In terms of offensive play, much improvement is required,” said Nuno.