Nuno Espirito Santo reflects on Tottenham Hotspur's win over Wolves
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Nuno Espirito Santo had to delay his post-match interview after Tottenham’s miserable defeat to Arsenal as Gunners fans chanted “you’re getting sacked in the morning”. But when he finally faced the cameras the Spurs boss was brutally honest as he gave the reasons for his side’s North London derby capitulation.
Tottenham slipped to a third succesive Premier League defeat as Arsenal tore them apart inside 35 minutes with goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.
Son Heung-min’s goal 11 minutes from time proved little consolation, with Spurs having conceded three goals to a London rival in each of their consecutive reverses.
The manner of his side’s collapse against their fierce rivals has piled the pressure on Nuno, who is facing questions over his future just 10 games into his reign despite having been named manager of the month for August.
And when he emerged from the tunnel after the game he was not even able to begin his post-match interviews because of the noise from jubilant Arsenal supporters, who taunted the Tottenham boss with loud speculation that he could end up losing his job.
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Nuno was given another slot 10 minutes later to conduct his pitch-side interviews with Gunners fans were given the chance to disperse in the meantime, according to Football London.
And when the Portuguese coach did finally face the media he gave a painfully honest acount of himself, taking the blame for Tottenham’s failed game plan as well for some of his selection choices.
“The game plan was not good, the decisions were not good so it was not a good day for us,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’m going to be honest with you. When you’ve got a game plan you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want to put on the pitch to develop that game plan. I take the responsibility because the decisions were not according to the game plan.
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“So I’m not going to say individuals, which decisions I didn’t do right, but the game plan was not according to the players that were on the pitch.”
He added: “We were not strong enough in the midfield and, I’m being very honest here and it’s not easy to tell this but the decisions were not according to the game plan.
“So if we wanted to go strong in the midfield, maybe the decisions were not the right ones I made.”
Nuno hinted at a different decision he could have made when he replaced Dele Alli with Oliver Skipp for the second half.
The substition gave Tottenham more control in midfield area, where they had been woefully inadequate in the first half.
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There have been suggestions Spurs should revert from a 4-3-3 to the 4-2-3-1 which has suited them in the past, with Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg two options who could play the double pivot roles.
Keeper Hugo Lloris said after Sunday’s game that Tottenham’s players were “too far away from each other” – a problem which could perhaps be mitigated by a change in formation.
Asked by Football London whether it was time to rethink his tactics, Nuno said: “Maybe. First of all we have to recover mentally and physically for the next one.
“Then we have to make better decisions, work harder and find the right decision.
“We want to be a team that is fast, stronger, solid, dominant. We are not being that team.”
Spurs face two home games next, with Thursday’s clash against Mura in the Europa League followed by the visit of Aston Villa in Saturday’s Premier League clash.
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