Tottenham suffered another defeat - this time a 2-1 home loss to London rivals West Ham; Cristian Romero gave Spurs another lead, but the hosts threw it away again with West Ham goals coming from Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse; Postecoglou wants to see his team finish other sides off
Friday 8 December 2023 12:21, UK
Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou bemoaned his side's "lack of real conviction" in their 2-1 defeat to West Ham - adding that Spurs need to be a side who finish teams off, not simply play good football.
Spurs looked set for a first win in four games as they led their London rivals 1-0 thanks to Cristian Romero's early strike - but the hosts missed a number of chances to extend their lead in a first half which saw them muster 12 more shots and a further 1.1 of Expected Goals (xG).
That wastefulness allowed West Ham back into the game in the second half, with Jarrod Bowen taking advantage of a fortunate deflection to score an equaliser, before James Ward-Prowse benefitted from some clumsy defending from Destiny Udogie and Guglielmo Vicario to score the winner.
It is the fifth game in a row where Postecoglou's Tottenham have led in a game and failed to pick up three points - with Spurs now on a run of four defeats in those five outings.
"It's another game where we've dominated a game of football and we've not turned that into something more tangible and we keep the opposition in the game," said Postecoglou.
"We were really poor in both boxes, and their two goals were terrible goals to concede. Even in the second half, we had some unbelievable chances.
"We've got a long way to go as a team and days like today were further evidence of that.
"Us being good means us being 3-0 up. It's not about playing good football, it's about winning games of football. I've said that from the start, I've set up teams to win games.
"1-0 up at half-time was not a good performance from us. A good performance would be to be 3-0 or 4-0 up. When you don't, then you give up goals when you shouldn't, you don't get what you deserve."
Despite having the returning Romero back in defence following a three-game ban, Spurs still have James Maddison, Rodrigo Bentancur and Micky van de Ven out injured.
Postecoglou refused to blame fatigue for his side's long winless run.
The games do not get any easier for Tottenham as Newcastle come to north London on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
"It's about having the conviction in front of goal to finish things off. It's as simple as that. If we weren't creating chances, out on our feet, then those kind of things [fatigue] can factor into it.
"But all our chances in the first half had nothing to do with fatigue. It's a lack of real conviction. At the moment, we're going through a spell of playing so-called good football. But I don't see that. I see us not really showing a clear conviction of what we're doing. It's like we're thinking the ball will go into the net by itself. You need a determination to do that and keep it out in the other end.
"There's no point us feeling sorry for ourselves and looking for a cuddle. There's only one way to change the circumstance and that is to come out on Sunday and not just play good football but go out there and show conviction in ourselves as a team.
"Sometimes we can disguise how we're going because we can play some nice stuff. But that's not what I'm about I want to win. That is why I came to this football club.
"I was disappointed in the manner we accepted our fate [in the first half], in the sense that we thought we're playing 1-0, we're playing well, the result will take care of itself.
"We're facing teams as competitive as West Ham, when they're down you've got to put them away. We're going through a spell of playing decent football, great but ultimately that's not what it's about. We're here to have success, not about putting on a show."
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium:
West Ham became the first visiting team to win a Premier League game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April 2019, but they then lost three of their next four visits across the capital. Here, they celebrated long into the night a victory that at half-time had looked so unlikely.
It is six months to the day since Jarrod Bowen's goal secured the Europa Conference League trophy for the Hammers, but there had been a growing concern over how David Moyes' side is able to battle on multiple fronts this time around.
This was the third of 11 games in a 33-day period, and Moyes' side were behind before they got going on Thursday - seeing just 10 per cent of the ball before Cristian Romero's opener.
For Moyes, his remarkable record away to the Premier League's traditional 'top six' would be ended, however. Thirty-nine games without a win and out. How he and West Ham love Thursday nights.
In the end, his side looked fitter and fresher, despite this being their 22nd game already this campaign compared to their opponent's 16th. Spurs have the advantage of not having a hectic schedule given their absence from European competition, but it was evident in the second half how robust this West Ham side are.
It was clear which group of players have become well-versed in playing three games a week.
Spurs have now conceded 13 goals in five league matches, which have yielded a single point.
Given the nature of the two goals, Ange Postecoglou used up all his luck last time out at the Etihad, but following up defeat at home to Chelsea with a loss to rivals West Ham will leave the traditionalists questioning the bigger picture when right now, results are needed to stay with the chasing pack.
Tottenham are back on Sky Sports on Super Sunday as they host Newcastle in the Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm. Spurs will then feature on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports, when they travel to Nottingham Forest on December 15, kick-off 8pm.
West Ham are back in action on Sunday as they travel to Fulham in the Premier League, kick-off 2pm. They then finish their Europa League group stage at home to Freiburg on Thursday December 14.