Under-fire Nuno Espirito Santo makes bizarre claim that his Tottenham side were the BETTER TEAM against West Ham despite his side’s toothless display in yet another London derby
- Nuno Espirito Santo insists Tottenham were the ‘better team’ against West Ham
- Michail Antonio scored the winner for West Ham in a 1-0 win over rivals Spurs
- It was another toothless display for Spurs in this season’s fourth derby defeat
Nuno Espirito Santo rejected accusations Tottenham were too negative against West Ham despite their latest toothless display in losing a fourth successive London derby.
The Spurs boss made the bizarre claim his side were the better team despite struggling to create clear cut opportunities as Michail Antonio’s second half goal continued the Hammers positive start to the season.
But the loss – particularly the manner of the defeat – raises more questions about the direction Tottenham are headed under Nuno.
Nuno Espirito Santo insists his Tottenham side were the ‘better team’ against West Ham
Chairman Daniel Levy promised the supporters a manager who would implement an attacking brand of football more in line with the club’s forward-thinking traditions following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho, whose pragmatic approach infuriated fans.
But not for the first time this season, Tottenham flattered to decisive in the attacking third, though Heung-min son and Harry Kane did miss two good first-half opportunities.
Nevertheless, Nuno refused to throw his team under the bus after another disappointing afternoon.
When asked directly whether he felt his side struggled creatively, Nuno responded: ‘No. I think the team needs to be balanced. To be balanced in terms of the presence of the players. Besides being good players they give us the balance the team needs. And we have enough creativity with our full-backs, our attackers. I don’t agree with you.’
Michail Antonio muscled Harry Kane out of the way to tap in Aaron Cresswell’s looping cross
Antonio uncorked one of his crazy celebrations as West Ham beat rivals Tottenham
Asked why his team struggled to create opportunities, Nuno answered: ‘Because West Ham defend in the box with a lot of men.
‘There was not much space and we should’ve moved the ball faster and go to wide areas. But is always difficult when the team and all men are behind the ball, it is difficult to find spaces and gaps.’
The result and performance was particularly disappointing given Nuno made 11 changes from the team that lost to Vitesse Arnhem on Thursday – all the players that started at the London Stadium stayed in London in midweek to prepare for the clash against West Ham.
Indeed, Harry Winks, who started in Europe, wasn’t even on the bench against the Hammers. In hindsight, Nuno may feel he could have done with the midfielder’s technical attributes in midfield as his team struggled to break West Ham down.
Spurs struggled to muster up the enthusiasm to fight for an equaliser at the London Stadium
It was another toothless display for Spurs as they lost a fourth successive London derby
But yet again, Nuno refuted assertions that his fully-rested starting XI lacked freshness, adding: ‘I don’t agree. I think all the players worked very hard and fitness wise were available to deal with the game.
‘Where did it go wrong? The way we conceded. But apart from I think that we had a good game, we had possession we had control of the game, we created, besides the counter attacks of West Ham we didn’t allow many situations.
‘We should be better in the offensive box, the chance to be aggressive in that moment of the game. This is my thought.
‘It is always frustrating, a London derby that we know means a lot to our fans, means a lot to us and we were not able to win it. I am disappointed because it hurts, I know it hurts.
‘There are not too many positives but when you lose a game like that – I believe we were better team.’
Successive defeats vs Vitesse and the Hammers is a blow to Nuno’s hopes of a turnaround
Meanwhile, following an excellent win that propelled West Ham into fourth, David Moyes said: ‘We are growing characters. If you look at where these boys were two or three years ago, they have all blossomed.
‘The club is blossoming. That comes from the team and it comes from inside the building. Those players are all improving together and it is a big thing.
‘I am pleased with today because there was a resilience to the team. Patience is a good word for today, lot’s of good performances and all credit to the players for how they continue to grow.’