Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Cristian Stellini: ‘I was wrong…’ Tottenham boss admits key decision has destroyed their top-four hopes


Tottenham Hotspur interim manager Cristian Stellini has given his reaction after his team were thrashed 6-1 by Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

The embarrassing defeat effectively destroys Spurs’ already waning hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. In fact, if Liverpool and Brighton win their games in hand, they’d also overtake Spurs.

Jacob Murphy opened the scoring for Newcastle after just two minutes, with Hugo Lloris parrying a Joelinton shot straight into his path.

Murphy’s goal was quickly followed by one from Joelinton, when the Brazilian brought down a perfectly played lofted through ball from Fabian Schar, before finishing confidently.

Murphy then got his brace just three minutes later, firing in a wonderful strike from 30 yards out that Lloris was powerless to stop. At that point, the game was over.

Then, in-form Newcastle striker Alexander Isak managed to net a brace with just 2 minutes separating his two goals – making it 5-0 before the half time whistle.

Harry Kane got a consolation for Tottenham shortly after the restart, but their pain was compounded in the 67th minute when substitute Callum Wilson scored another to make it 6-1.

The historic defeat leaves Spurs six points adrift from the top four – having played two games more than Manchester United and one more than Newcastle.

READ MORE: Tottenham manager latest: Leading candidate now ‘very tempted’ to take over after snubbing rivals

Stellini takes responsibility for Newcastle thrashing

Stellini opted to change his formation for the clash, switching to a four at the back system for only the second time this season.

However, clearly, this massively backfired and the Italian coach took responsibility for that poor decision.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It went so badly because we were not prepared enough to play an important match.

“We have a good squad but today no-one showed how good we are. It was my responsibility to decide how we play and we decided to do it differently because of the injuries. It is my responsibility, I took it and it was wrong.

“I have to take responsibility because once we changed system we played better, scored and showed fight. Its very difficult to understand why the first 25 minutes were so bad.”

Stellini was then pressed on why he decided to go to a back four. To which he responded: “To give energy to the players because we spoke in the week it would be possible to change system, but obviously we didn’t show this.

“We were not prepared to play this type of tough game. To suffer, control the space, win duels, we were not well prepared. I was wrong. We had a good mood before the game but if you do not show this during the game. The change showed a different idea.”

Finally, Stellini was questioned on why he decided to bring off young midfielder Pape Sarr after just 23 minutes, with the scoreline already at 5-0.

“I said to him, it was not his mistake or his problem. We knew that the first 20 minutes here will be difficult for everyone, just don’t concede a goal, after the first shot we conceded the first goal,” he added.

“I am the coach and I am above them, I have to protect them and they deserve my protection. Today I have to take this responsibility.”

READ MORE: ‘Could get sacked at half-time’ – Stellini savaged as ’embarrassing’ Tottenham receive thumping