Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris labelled his side’s collapse at Newcastle United in the Premier League “embarrassing” as their top-four hopes suffered a huge blow.
Spurs could have moved level on points with Newcastle with a win but instead conceded five goals in the opening 21 minutes, eventually losing 6-1 at St James’ Park.
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Many of the Tottenham fans who had made the long trip to Tyneside were seen leaving before half-time.
“It’s very embarrassing. We should apologise to the fans. We didn’t show a good face, and we could not match the performance of the Newcastle players,” Lloris, who was substituted at half-time, told Sky Sports.
“We were late in all aspects of the game and we completely missed the first part of the game. The second half is a different story, but it’s really painful.
“It is not even about tactics; we just could not fight and we were late. It is difficult right now to assess the performances, but there was a lack of pride.”
Tottenham remain in fifth place with 53 points from 32 games but they are six behind third-placed Newcastle, who have a game in hand, and also six behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have two games in hand.
With teams below them such as Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion also having games in hand, the question is not so much about the Champions League now for Spurs, but whether they will even hang on to a European spot.
“You can get punched once or twice, but it was like we could not even react or bounce back,” Lloris said. “Newcastle deserve a lot of credit for starting the game at 100 miles per hour. They knew exactly what to do.”
Tottenham interim boss Cristian Stellini was equally damning of his assessment of the Spurs’ showing, adding: “There’s no words to explain a performance like this. The first 25 minutes were the worst I have ever seen.
“I hope that the system we changed to [would] give us energy [but it] was the wrong decision. If it was that, it’s my responsibility. We played with four at the back and if this is the mistake, it’s my mistake.
“We have to analyse this season is very tough for everyone but we have to find the energy, with all the possibilities we have. We don’t have a lot of time to do this. We have to be responsible, everyone. We have to take a breath tonight and tomorrow we have to start.
When asked if he was worried about his own position at Tottenham following the loss, Stellini said: “This is a question… I have no answer for this because it is not a question for me.”