TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas last night refused to criticise the performance of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after his failure to hold on to Grant Holt’s header allowed Simeon Jackson to secure Norwich City’s late winner.
The in-form Gareth Bale had given Tottenham a 66th-minute lead before two goals in three minutes in an own goal from Jan Vertonghen and the alert Jackson’s poacher’s finish secured a home quarter-final against former manager Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa that Villas-Boas’s team may otherwise have had.
“It’s a pity to see the game slip from our hands,” said Villas-Boas, whose decision to rotate the reliable Brad Friedel with £14m France international Lloris has been the subject of significant scrutiny. “We had a good performance with good chances. It’s difficult to take – in the end we congratulate them. Norwich did well to get back into the game – credit to them. We go back to the league and focus on winning there.
“Hugo Lloris did extremely well. He had a good, solid performance.”
That the midfielder Clint Dempsey’s penalty was saved by Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn will have increased Villas-Boas’s belief that this was a match that Spurs should have won, especially with the home side so defensive and with Bale giving them the lead after cutting in from the left wing to shoot into the corner with his right foot.
Vertonghen was unfortunate when Alex Tettey’s shot deflected off of him for Norwich’s 84th-minute equaliser, but Lloris perhaps not so when Holt’s header fell to Jackson to score with three minutes to go.