Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas described his side’s late loss to Everton as ‘a difficult blow to take’.
Spurs held a 1-0 lead going into the 90th minute thanks to Clint Dempsey’s deflected strike but were denied even a point as Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic struck.
The goals were the latest in a long line of those conceded in the final moments by Spurs this season, and the Portuguese manager rued his team’s inability to see games out.
“If we count the number of results that have been bad for us in the last minutes we would be first I think,” he told reporters.
“It’s a difficult blow to take. We didn’t play well in the first half but improved in the second half. Everton didn’t have as much quality as they did in the first half and apart from the two goals we suffered in the last minute we looked more in control of the game.
“We kept the ball well, we had possession and were looking to see off the game. In the small details and when Everton got a bit more aggressive with the long ball it was difficult for us to clear and we ended up suffering.
“It’s not really easy to explain [why Tottenham have conceded so many late goals] because they come through different situations.
“It’s something that we are aware of and that’s why we speak about it openly. It’s something that we have to improve, seeing off the game and seeing off results.
“You knew as soon as the kick off went for the 1-1 that they would go and have a go.”
The former Chelsea boss went on to insist his side did not miss injured winger Gareth Bale, citing goalscorer Dempsey as an able deputy on the left-hand side.
“[Bale]’s a different type of player. Bale is a pure winger and Dempsey is a player who comes from the line and inside,” he continued.
“You saw him doing it to great benefit for us in our last games where he not only assisted people but he scored today once again. Both of them are extremely good players but it’s a different type of game that they offer.”
Everton manager David Moyes claimed he would have been bewildered had his side not been victorious.
He told reporters: “If Everton hadn’t won we’d have been saying ‘how not?’
“We played terrifically well, especially in the first half with Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman. The attacking play we had was terrific we just couldn’t find the final pass or the final finish to kill it off.
“Tottenham got better after 15 minutes into the second half and we had to defend four or five corners or free kicks but I thought we grew into it again when they scored the goal.”
The win over Spurs meant the Toffees leapfrogged their opponents up into fourth place, reigniting talk of a possible bid for Champions League football. However, Moyes is coy on his side’s prospects, and is refusing to get carried away.
“It’s too early to talk about that but the position doesn’t shame the way Everton have been playing,” he added.
“We could quite easily have slipped out and before you know it we could have been in the bottom half of the league, the Premier League is so tight. It feels good today but we’ve got to make sure we maintain that.”
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