Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo jumped to the defence of his players after they were narrowly beaten by West Ham United on Sunday afternoon. Michail Antonio’s second-half strike gave the Hammers all three points against their cross-city rivals, who slipped to sixth in the Premier League table in the process.
Spurs failed to get going from the first whistle, with their lack of creativity in the final third holding them back throughout the contest.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but were unable to convert their dominance of the ball into many clear-cut chances.
Nuno’s side did not register a single attempt on goal during the second half, leaving them unable to hit back after Antonio poked home from a corner with just 18 minutes remaining to give West Ham the lead.
The result marked Tottenham’s second defeat in a week after falling at the hands of Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.
Although Spurs were nowhere near their best on Sunday afternoon, Nuno refused to criticise his side’s efforts after the final whistle, insisting that it was a strong performance from the north London club.
“I don’t agree, all the players worked very hard,” said the Portuguese boss in his post-match press conference.
“The boys were playing good and we made the changes when we needed.”
Nuno went on to declare that Spurs were the better side over the course of the 90 minutes, suggesting they were hard done by to come away from the match empty-handed.
“Not too many,” he added when quizzed on whether there were any positives to take from the encounter.
“When you lose a game like today, I believe we were better team.”
The Spurs boss also paid tribute to West Ham, who successfully held his side at arm’s length for large parts of the match, before claiming that a breakthrough may have been found if they had been playing at a higher tempo.
“West Ham defend in the box with a lot of men, not much space,” explained Nuno.
“[We] should’ve moved the ball faster and go to wide areas. It’s always difficult when all men behind the ball, difficult to find spaces and gaps.”
FOLLOW OUR NEW DAILY EXPRESS SPORT INSTAGRAM PAGE
Spurs will be hoping for a return to winning ways against Manchester United in six days’ time as they seek a return to the Premier League’s upper reaches.
Nuno’s side have already tasted defeat on four occasions this season, with the 47-year-old finding himself under growing pressure to turn things around as a result.
He has endured a tough start to life in the capital after leaving Wolves to replace Jose Mourinho on a permanent basis at Spurs back in June.