NORWICH CITY 1 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0
TOTTENHAM manager Tim Sherwood admitted his team’s Champions League aspirations were dented by yesterday’s defeat at Carrow Road, after they slipped six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
Spurs had gone into the game boasting the best away record in the Premier League with nine wins from 13 matches, but Robert Snodgrass’s goal two minutes after half-time relieved some of the pressure on relegation-threatened Norwich and their manager Chris Hughton.
Second from bottom Cardiff visit White Hart Lane next weekend, before Spurs face Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton then Liverpool before the end of March.
And Sherwood, who refused to blame yesterday’s inept performance on a midweek trip to Ukraine for a Europa League tie, acknowledged his team took a step backwards in the race for qualification to Europe’s premier club competition.
“It’s a dent, but we’re still in it, looking up rather than behind,” he said.
“We’re bitterly disappointed to come away with nothing, but we didn’t deserve anything.
“We didn’t get started until the second half, we weren’t brave enough, we didn’t take enough risk with the ball.
“I had words with them at half-time, I said we need to be better, then after a minute they scored. But we still had clear cut chances in the second half to score. If you don’t take them you don’t win football matches.”
After a first half of scarce goalmouth action, the contest sparked into life straight after the interval. Nabil Bentaleb needlessly conceded possession to Bradley Johnson, whose incisive through pass to Snodgrass was expertly guided beyond goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Striker Roberto Soldado had two chances to equalise soon after his arrival from the bench, but snatched at a first-time shot, then headed an Aaron Lennon cross wide.
The visitors failed to hit the target until the final 10 minutes when substitute Nacer Chadli saw a powerful effort blocked by John Ruddy at his near post.
Norwich went close to a second when Johnson rattled the crossbar with a stunning free-kick, but Snodgrass’s goal proved enough.