Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas praised Manchester City's work rate after the defending champion's 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, admitting that his team struggled to find its rhythm.
Things weren't looking good for City when Steven Caulker gave Spurs the lead in the first half, but the home side improved after the break and was rewarded when Edin Dzeko scored a late winner after Sergio Aguero had equalized.
Villas-Boas explained his game plan after the match but conceded that Spurs had found it difficult to get to grips with their opponent's high defensive line and heavy pressing.
"The plan before the game was to try and hold on to the ball a bit more, to have possession and try to connect up and link the wingers," he told Sky Sports. "It was difficult because Manchester City's line was very high and they pushed us very well, so it was difficult to make that second pass in the link up play."
Villas-Boas controversially left Jermain Defoe on the bench despite his hat-trick in midweek against Maribor in the Europa League, but defended his decision to select Emmanuel Adebayor in attack for the fixture.
"In the end, he [Adebayor] had a positive impact regarding the structure we put together," he insisted. "It's a pity we didn't get a result in the end."
Follow GOAL.COM USA on