AT WHITE HART LANE
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 vs HULL CITY 0
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas criticised the club’s fans for allowing their anxiety to almost jeopardise the narrow home win that moved Spurs up to fourth in the Premier League table yesterday.
The White Hart Lane faithful witnessed a first home victory in three matches thanks to Roberto Soldado’s 80th-minute penalty.
And Villas-Boas was full of praise for his players’ efforts to grind out the win with little encouragement.
“We played in a very difficult atmosphere, very tense, very negative,” he said. “We looked like the away team, but we kept our cool. It was a victory that we had to dig deep within ourselves because we weren’t getting any help.
“I’m extremely happy with the crowd normally; fans represent the essence of football. But sometimes, at home, it’s difficult and it looks like it drags the ball into our goal instead of into the opponent’s goal.
“I don’t intend with this message to hurt their feelings, but this is something felt within the group.”
Hull boss Steve Bruce was also unhappy, but with referee Michael Oliver rather than his supporters, for the decision to award a penalty against Ahmed Elmohamady for blocking Jan Vertonghen’s cross with his hand at point-blank range.
“It was a joke decision,” has said. “It’s not right, not for the stakes we’re playing at. He’s robbed the players of a well-earned point.”
Soldado wasted Spurs’ best chance to score before the penalty with a tame shot at goalkeeper Steve Harper from 10 yards.
However, he relieved palpable tension when sending Harper the wrong way from 12 yards.
With the final kick of the game Tom Huddlestone swerved a 20-yard free-kick inches wide as Spurs held on for their first home win over Hull since 1981.