Premier League: Villas-Boas ashamed after Spurs suffer heaviest defeat since 1996


TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted his shame at overseeing the club’s worst defeat for almost 17 years yesterday, though refused to write off their quest to achieve a top-four finish.

Two goals apiece from Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero, plus an own goal from Sandro and Alvaro Negredo’s 10th strike of the season consigned Spurs to their worst defeat since a 7-1 hammering at Newcastle in December 1996.

The north Londoners had only conceded six goals in the entire Premier League season before their nightmare at the Etihad Stadium and dropped to ninth in the table, yet Villas-Boas is confident of turning around his side’s fortunes.

“The reality is that we are still in touch to teams who share our objective,” he said. “We haven’t lost a lot, with one fixture everything can change again and we can get a lift up from three points.

“But we have to get back to work and focus on our mistakes and work on that.

“It’s a game where everything went wrong for us from being one of the best defences in the country to conceding six goals in a fixture. We were not at our best and we have to be ashamed of a result like this.”

City boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted his shock at the scoreline, though felt his own players deserved full credit for the perfect performance.

“It’s impossible to play better than we did,” he said. “It’s not normal to win by six goals against a team as strong as Tottenham, but we played really well and defended very well.”

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, recalled after two matches out with concussion, gifted City the opener after 14 seconds. The France captain miscued a clearance which fell to Aguero and, despite palming away the striker’s effort, watched helplessly as Navas lofted the loose ball over him.

Spurs conceded a second on 34 minutes when Negredo’s volley was blocked on the line by Younes Kaboul, but rebounded into the net off midfielder Sandro.

City, rampant at home this season with 37 goals in nine matches, notched a third before half-time when Aguero steered in Navas’ low cross from six yards.

The visitors introduced striker Emmanuel Adebayor for the first time this season, but hopes of mounting a comeback were extinguished on 50 minutes when Aguero bagged his 14th goal in 11 games.

Five minutes later Negredo fired in from 20 yards after spinning past defender Michael Dawson.

And, after Samir Nasri hit the crossbar, the rout was completed in added on time when Navas finished low across goal from 10 yards.