West Ham give Spurs wake-up call in shock 3-0 defeat
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas says his side should not feel discouraged despite defeat against Hammers
Andre Villas-Boas admitted Tottenham's shock 3-0 defeat against West Ham will serve as a major wake-up call to his players.
Villas-Boas' side paid the price for a lacklustre display as they slumped to just their second Premier League defeat of the season and their first loss against the Hammers at White Hart Lane since April 1999.
After being tipped as potential title contenders following their strong start to the campaign, this was a significant setback for Tottenham. They struggled to cope with Sam Allardyce's astute game plan as the West Ham manager sent out his team without a central striker, opting instead to pack six players in midfield in a bid to stifle Tottenham's supply lines to Jermain Defoe.
The plan worked perfectly as frustrated Spurs succumbed to second-half goals from New Zealand defender Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te before Ravel Morrison ran from inside his own half to seal the points with a fine solo strike.
"It is a defeat, we don't like it, but it's a wake-up call and we have to react. I trust the team to do it," Villas-Boas said.
"It is not for me to speak about the strategy of West Ham. They have done very well defensively this season, but their goals were nothing related to that strategy.
"We were about to go to four strikers to get more firepower, but they managed to score the second. I don't want to undermine their strategy, but I don't think it surprised us."
Villas-Boas is adamant the defeat should not be too discouraging for Spurs. "We can't undermine what we have been doing until now. The team spirit is good and they will come back in the right frame of mind to bounce back," he said.
While Villas-Boas came to terms with his side's first defeat in seven matches in all competitions, the future suddenly looks a lot brighter for West Ham.
The Hammers' biggest win over their local rivals since 1994 lifted them out of the relegation zone and ended their wait for a first league victory since the opening day of the season.
It was a sweet moment for Allardyce, who is often denounced for his perceived dedication to long-ball tactics, but showed his managerial nous to outsmart Villas-Boas. "It was a great day for us. Our tactics paid off," he said.
"The basis of the game was to take their striker out of it and interchange our runners from out wide. The more defensively sound we were the more frustrated they got. If we had lost I would just have said 'Well Jose [Mourinho] does it and he doesn't get any stick'."
Allardyce was pleased that Morrison showed his tremendous talent with an intelligent performance capped by an early contender for goal of the season.
Morrison was at risk of wasting his potential when Alex Ferguson let him to leave Manchester United last year after his troubled personal life became too much for the club to deal with.
But Allardyce sent the 20-year-old on loan to Birmingham last season.
"Fergie told me if you can sort him out he can be a genius. He let him go because he needed to get away from Manchester. He couldn't see it happening for the lad at United," Allardyce said.
"His loan spell at Birmingham gave him time to reflect on what it takes to be a player at our level. The rough and tumble of the Championship probably taught him a lot. The penny has dropped in his lifestyle and his attitude."