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Football London
Football London
Rob Guest

Antonio Conte's telling post-match comment as Man City expose Tottenham's greatest problem

It all looked so good for Tottenham at half-time as they went in with a 2-0 advantage at the break at the Etihad Stadium. Knowing that a Man City onslaught would be awaiting them in the second 45 minutes, the one thing Antonio Conte's men needed to do was remain solid and try and keep their opponents goalless for as long as possible.

If they had managed to do that then it would have left the reigning Premier League champions extremely frustrated and only increased Spurs' chances of leaving Manchester with maximum points in the bag. Instead, Julian Alvarez halved the deficit six minutes into the second half and then Erling Haaland restored parity two minutes later.

Spurs almost restored their lead with Ivan Perisic's low effort deflected on to the post by Rico Lewis, before City went up the other end of the pitch not long after and went ahead for the first time in the match through Riyad Mahrez. There was to be no way back into the contest for the Lilywhites after that, with the in-form Algerian completing the victory with a classy finish in the dying minutes.

READ MORE: Tottenham player ratings vs Manchester City: Perisic shocker after Kulusevski and Emerson goals

Another game of two halves for Spurs, although this time it was an impressive first-half performance followed up by a poor second-half showing, with individual errors proving incredibly costly to their hopes. Perisic had a nightmare 69 minutes on the pitch and was embarrassed by Mahrez on more than one occasion in the second 45.

Seeing the ex-Leicester City man move past him with ease for Alvarez's opener, Mahrez then used his strength to hold off the Croat for the second as he headed the ball across goal to give Haaland a simple finish. It was to get even worse for the summer addition as he raced out of position to try and cut out Rodri's searching pass to the winger, only to get it all wrong and gift the 31-year-old possession and the opportunity to run at Davies and net beyond Lloris.

City's fourth of the night was another to forget from a Tottenham perspective as substitute Clement Lenglet couldn't control Ederson's long punt forward and it allowed Mahrez to nip in and finish in style beyond Lloris. The goalkeeper himself didn't exactly cover himself in glory for two of City's goals, flapping at the ball when it came his way for the first and then seeing Mahrez's low drive beat him at his front post for the third.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Conte opened up on the errors that are hurting his team dearly at present. Notably mentioning that "you don't buy experience - well you can buy experience..." when mentioning that a more experienced team in this type of game wouldn't have lost.

"Yeah but you know we are really disappointed because many times, you have try to justify the goals that we are conceding," he said. "For sure this is a period we are not so lucky because we are making many, many mistakes, many mistakes, but football is this.

"Sometimes you have a positive performance. Sometimes you are in situations that are not so positive but we have to continue to work and believe in ourselves. As I said in the past, this type of game with more experience you never, never lose. You don't buy experience, (laughs) well you can buy experience. You can buy it, but you know very well that we have to buy experience step by step, year by year.

"For this reason when I speak and I tell you we have just started the process to try to become competitive, it means that we are also working under this aspect because a team with experience never concedes four goals."

Individual errors are killing Tottenham at present and one of the main reasons why they now trail Newcastle United in fourth by five points having played a game more. Boasting top players in Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski in attack, with Rodrigo Bentancur a classy operator in the middle of the park, Spurs are lacking real quality at the back that would help them challenge towards the top of the league.

Spurs' problems in the wing-back positions have been well documented, but what they also need to do is upgrade in the heart of defence and bring in players of the same level as World Cup winner Cristian Romero. Until they do that they won't make the big strides in the league that they want to achieve and their trophy drought will only continue.

Fabio Paratici really does have a huge job on his hands trying to bring Tottenham up to the required level. Thursday night's defeat at the Etihad Stadium only highlighted that Tottenham need to do so much more in the transfer market.


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