'Got it wrong' - Cristian Stellini takes blame for Spurs’ 6-1 thrashing at Newcastle & insists players 'deserve my protection'
- Shambolic showing put in on Tyneside
- Game over well before half-time
- Points dropped & injuries picked up
WHAT HAPPENED? Plenty of Spurs stars can expect to come under fire following a humiliating performance at St James’ Park that saw them concede five times in the opening 21 minutes. Things did improve slightly after that, with Hugo Lloris forced off at half-time, but there are plenty of uncomfortable questions for the north London outfit to answer after seeing a serious dent hammered into their top-four ambitions.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Stellini told Sky Sports when reflecting on a forgettable display, with Antonio Conte's former right-hand man eager to deflect blame away from his underperforming squad: “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.
“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. It's very difficult to understand why the first 25 minutes were so bad.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Spurs were forced into changes early on at Newcastle, before switching their goalkeeper at the interval, and Stellini concedes that he got his game plan wrong. He added: “We were not prepared to play this type of tough game. To suffer, control the space, win duels, we were not well prepared. We had a good mood before the game but if you do not show this during the game. The change showed a different idea.”
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WHAT NEXT? Tottenham are now looking over their shoulder in the race for European qualification, with testing fixtures against Manchester United and Liverpool next up for them.