Tottenham coach Nuno Espirito Santo insists he has the backing of his players despite mounting scrutiny over their recent form.
Spurs made an excellent start to life under their new head coach, winning four of their first five games in all competitions while conceding just one goal.
Their recent form has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, however. Consecutive 3-0 Premier League defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea came as they also drew 2-2 with Rennes and Wolves in the Europa Conference League and EFL Cup.
Last weekend, Tottenham suffered a humbling 3-1 loss to north London rivals Arsenal, a result made all the more eye-catching given it came just under a month after top-flight history was made when Spurs ended the day top of the table while the Gunners were at the bottom.
Such has been the reversal of their fortunes – only Everton in 1993-94 have ever won their opening three Premier League games of a season only to lose the next three – that doubts are already being cast over Nuno’s future.
However, the former Wolves boss says the players believe in his methods and that criticism does not concern him.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s game against Mura, he said: “Yeah, [they] totally believe. There are no doubts about that because we work together every day, we prepare together and these moments we need to stick together and the belief is the first step to do things, and we have it.
“You have to realise sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes opponents are better than you, and you have to be humble to give credit, and sometimes you don’t perform. Sometimes the plan is no good. The belief in all of us is here.
“I’m not worried about the judgements. What I’m worried about is how we can play better. The judgement and the criticism and the opinion and all of that is all part of it. And we have to deal with that.
“That doesn’t interfere with the way we work, it can only distract us. I’m very simple, telling you: my focus is how can we improve, how can we improve. In terms of the fans, now is not the moment to ask them. Of course, we need their support, because the players and the team need the support of the fans. But it’s not the moment to ask them, it’s the moment to deliver.
“We don’t panic because we know that this is football. It’s how you react to the bad moments. It’s something that you cannot avoid. Every team goes through a moment like this. History shows that. Sticking together is the only way to do it.”
Nuno believes Spurs’ three consecutive wins at the start of the season disguised the fact he is still getting used to working with his squad.
“Since day one, we are knowing each other better, we are realising our strengths and weaknesses, so we can improve. The moment that we were winning was only disguising to the outside,” he said.
“Inside, we knew we still had things to improve. Now it’s obvious that we have things to improve. In terms of what I’m seeing, I’m seeing players that want to achieve, that work hard to achieve it, but we are not able to be consistent to do it.
“We are still having problems when we concede a goal. We lose our focus. We lose our solidity and how compact we are and that we must avoid. So, a lot of analysis is going on. A lot, but with the tools and the belief that we have a talented team with quality players to get out of this situation and play much better football.”
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