Ange Postecoglou remained defiant and insisted Tottenham were on the path to being “a very good football team” despite a 2-1 home loss to Aston Villa consigning them to a third consecutive defeat.
Spurs were without 11 first-teamers but Postecoglou doubled down on his philosophy with a back four containing no centre-backs, several attacking players handed first league starts of the season and no recognised defensive midfielder in the starting line-up.
It initially paid off with Giovani Lo Celso firing Tottenham ahead in the 22nd-minute and while the hosts had 18 shots, three goals disallowed and hit the woodwork twice, Aston Villa punished their profligacy to move above them into the Premier League’s top four.
Postecoglou reflected: “It is just the situation we’re in at the moment, but we’ll get through it.
“It might take a little while, but we’ll get through it and as long as we show the same intent and play the football we did today, I’ve got no doubt when we come out the other side, we’ll be a very good football team.
“We had four full-backs out there so we didn’t really have the height, which we knew would be an issue for us today but you kind of take those calculated risks with the flipside of it being that some of our football was outstanding today.
“I mean some of the goals we could have scored would have ended up being showreels for us in the way we want to play our football, so for me the positives definitely outweigh the negative of the result.
“We’ve just got to make sure the players stay focused on what’s important right now and you need to win games of football to keep yourself in the mix to be in a strong position come the end of the year, but right now we’re still building a side.
“What’s more important is the way forward has to be with what the end goal is in mind and today was about trying to play the football we want to play.
“If we fell short, we fell short but I didn’t think we fell short today. I thought it was just fine margins for us and not getting the rewards.”
To add to Tottenham’s growing issues, Rodrigo Bentancur’s first start since February following a serious knee injury was cut short after he was on the receiving end of a poor first-half tackle by Matty Cash.
“It is his ankle, I think,” Postecoglou revealed. “It wasn’t a great tackle. I thought he started the game so well and I think it was the reason we got a real good foothold on the game.
“He’s such a creative player. It’s the last thing we needed. Another injury, so (I’m) disappointed to lose him, but we’re yet to see the extent of it.”
While Tottenham created chances aplenty, it was visiting Villa who clinched an eighth victory from their last 10 matches after Pau Torres’ header in first-half stoppage-time was backed up by Ollie Watkins’ low effort after 61 minutes.
It pressed home their case as a genuine contender for Champions League qualification but former Arsenal boss Unai Emery insisted there are seven teams ahead of them.
“That was an amazing match,” Emery added.
“I think both teams, different ways tactically but very hard, very tough. They create chances, we create chances and we were efficient and clinical.
“Really I enjoy it but I lost all my energy.
“Of course we can get confidence when we are winning matches like here at Tottenham, but still in my mind, it is 38 matches that we have to be consistent.
“We have to try to get each opportunity with three points and try to get a good position in the table. We are in (the top four) now, but we are not a contender.
“There are seven contenders more than us to be in the top seven, to be in the top four but while we are there, we are going to try to keep (there).”