A humiliating 6-0 defeat away to Manchester City has ramped up the pressure on the Spurs coach, who is failing to get his team firing this season
By Greg Stobart at Etihad Stadium
It took just 14 seconds for a man called Jesus to start an afternoon of hell for Tottenham.
A poor kick from Hugo Lloris and some statuesque defending ended with Jesus Navas chipping in City’s opener in the first minute - and from there is only got worse for Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
Even the Spurs fans who remember the dark days of the 1990s would struggle to recall such a humiliating defeat.
The defending was lazy and naive as Sergio Aguero and Co. ran riot in the final third, with the visitors completely unable to deal with City’s attacking movement.
The formula was simple: play a through ball or deliver a cross and Spurs won’t know how to handle it. And it worked a treat.
The result leaves the Londoners ninth in the Premier League, with a negative goal difference having only scored nine times in 12 matches so far this season. Sergio Aguero alone has scored 10 goals for City.
Spurs' defensive ratings vs Man City
At the start of the season, the Portuguese found himself fielding questions about a title challenge. Now he is talking about being “ashamed” of an “embarrassing” result and a top four finish must feel a million miles away.
His side have lost two games in a row and failed to score in their last three. So desperate is Villas-Boas for goals that he has called back Emmanuel Adebayor from the cold having privately decided in the summer that the striker’s Spurs career was over.
When Spurs lost 3-0 at home to West Ham, the reasoning was that the new signings were still being integrated into the squad.
After the 1-0 loss to Newcastle, Villas-Boas lamented the goalkeeping display of Tim Krul.
But here he was lost for words, humbled by his team’s defending. So solid at the back in previous games, individual howlers against City were compounded by a complete lack of organisation and cohesion.
If Spurs can’t defend and they can’t attack, then Villas-Boas has big problems.
Much was made of the £100 million summer spending but none of the new signings have shone and their reliance last season on Gareth Bale has been exposed.
The Welshman would regularly get Spurs out of trouble last season, but now Villas-Boas has no-one to turn to.
Nor can it be said that any player has particularly improved under his watch.
Tottenham are still just two points behind the top four but Villas-Boas needs to stop waiting for a magic click and proactively find solutions now.
Villas-Boas believes December and January will be decisive for Spurs’ Champions League hopes, but that could also be so for his future and his reputation in the industry.
So damaged after his doomed spell in charge of Chelsea, he can’t afford another failure.
He used his post-match press conference to say all the right things about correcting the mistakes of the City horror show.
But if Spurs produce another performance like that against United next week, Villas-Boas might find himself praying for some divine intervention of his own.
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