A lackluster Tottenham lost ground in the top-four race as they were deservedly thrashed by Aston Villa in their first match in the year 2023.
Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Antonio Conte claims last year’s top-four finish in the Premier League campaign was “a miracle” and admitted that an expectation of a title bid this season is laughable.
An error by Spur’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in his first match after the World Cup permitted Emiliano Buendia to score before Douglas Luiz doubled Aston Villa’s lead at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Hugo Lloris made a shocking mistake in the 50th minute of the match. The France goalie parried Luiz’s long-range effort and Ollie Watkins squared the rebound for Buendia to slam home.
Luiz launched and wrapped up the move to make it 2-0, slipping a pass to John McGinn before racing on to receive the return and blasting it nicely past Lloris.
Antonio Conte’s lackluster Spurs, who fell out of the Premier League top four on Saturday following Manchester United’s victory over Wolves, have now won only two games of their past seven matches.
And speaking after Sunday’s miserable 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa that now left Tottenham in fifth place with 13 points behind league toppers Arsenal, the Italian coach delivered a mixture of depressing and harsh remarks.
Conte told reporters after the match on Sunday that Tottenham’s top-four finish last season was nothing but a miracle.
The Italian coach made it clear that expecting a title win or finishing among the top four this season is ludicrous.
Conte said: “Last season we made a miracle.”
“Because we played only one competition, and we played with 12 or 13 players and they didn’t have injuries in the last 15 games. We played with our best players every game because I repeat, we played only the league.”
“Don’t forget with three games to go Arsenal was four points ahead of us and that we finished 20 points less than Manchester City and we did a miracle, but I knew the situation.”
Tottenham was blank in their shocking defeat on Sunday as they barely managed a shot at Villa’s net.
Spurs were without the productive Dejan Kulusevski, who was injured, and Brazilian forward Richarlison who was also unavailable on Sunday.
Rodrigo Bentancur also missed out while Tottenham’s squad appears short of vigor to sustain the challenge for a top-four finish.
And in the Champions League in which they are in the round of 16, Conte believes expecting to win the trophy is a daydream as they are not feat to contend with other strong rivals in the league.
Tottenham boss, Conte claims the team needs to seek squad strengthening in the transfer window to be a strong and competitive team.
However, whether or not he gets it is another matter as it appears the club is not willing to spend much money on transfers to meet Conte’s needs.
Tottenham managed to complete the permanent signings of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Cristian Romero, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, Djed Spence, and Fraser Forster in the summer at a combined fee of £172m but Antonio Conte insisted the spending is not enough to create a winning club.
The Italian manager revealed that Spurs must now return to the transfer market and acquire strong players for him to continue the development of the team and prevent further failures.
Conte noted that: “Imber very well in the summer, at the start, people talked about Tottenham as title contenders, but in my experience, it was a bit crazy to read this.”
“To become a title contender, to become a team ready to fight to win something you need to have a solid foundation.”
“That means to have 14 or 15 strong players, quality, and the other young players to develop.”
“At the start of the season, I was very clear with the club. I said ‘ok we can be competitive to win but try to continue to improve but in the way that we can do it,’ because also you have to know that there are clubs who can invest 200 or 300 million and others with different policies.”
“The policy has to be very clear with all people otherwise we created a situation that’s not positive for the environment to create expectations that are not realistic.”
Tottenham has suffered their fourth loss in seven Premier League matches on a dismal New Year’s Day and conceded more than one goal in a seventh consecutive game for the first time since 1988.
What’s next for Tottenham?
Tottenham will travel to take on Crystal Palace in a Premier League clash on the 4th of January.
The match will take place at Selhurst Park Stadium z with kickoff scheduled for 9 pm.