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Spurs logo
Premier League | Gameweek 34
May 14, 2024 at 8pm UK
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Manchester City logo

0 - 2
Man City

Bentancur (36'), Sarr (57'), Romero (63')
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Haaland (51', 90+1' pen.)
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"The foundations are fragile" - Postecoglou seething as Spurs miss out on fourth

© Reuters
Ange Postecoglou slams the foundations of Tottenham Hotspur as "fragile" after their 2-0 defeat to Manchester City dashes their hopes of Champions League football.

An apoplectic Ange Postecoglou professed that the foundations of Tottenham Hotspur are "fragile" after the Lilywhites missed out on Champions League football with their 2-0 loss to Manchester City on Tuesday.

Owing to Aston Villa's 3-3 draw with Liverpool the night before, the Lilywhites were still in with a shot of pipping the Lions to fourth place in the Premier League table, even if their five-point gap was almost insurmountable to make up.

However, the pre-game build-up to Tuesday's contest was dominated by Tottenham fans pledging their temporary allegiance to Man City, who started the day one point below Arsenal in the two-horse title race, while also possessing an inferior goal difference.

True enough, there was a particularly subdued atmosphere inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, although the hosts managed to limit Man City's clear-cut opportunities in a tepid first half where neither side truly kicked into gear.

Just six minutes into the second period, though, Erling Haaland met Kevin De Bruyne's fizzed ball across the six-yard box to tap home the opener, before substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega made two pivotal stops from Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min.

Manchester City's Stefan Ortega saves from Tottenham Hotspur's Dejan Kulusevski on May 14, 2024© Reuters

Postecoglou: 'I need to go back to the drawing board'

The latter was clean through on goal after a Manuel Akanji error but shot straight at the Citizens' backup goalkeeper, before a Pedro Porro foul on Jeremy Doku presented Haaland with the chance to double his and Man City's tally from the spot.

While some Tottenham fans got their wish as Man City built up a two-point lead over their bitter foes Arsenal at the top, others were left to lament another season without Champions League football, as Villa's fourth-placed finish was confirmed.

In fact, not even fifth or sixth spot is mathematically guaranteed for Spurs, who are six points ahead of Newcastle United and Chelsea and could yet go another year without any form of continental competition.

Such a scenario would require Spurs to lose to Sheffield United this weekend, Chelsea and Newcastle to win their remaining two games and Manchester United to finish eighth and lift the FA Cup; a fanciful set of results, but an enraged Postecoglou claimed that the last 48 hours have revealed "a fair bit" about his team.

"I think the last 48 hours has revealed to me that the foundations are fairly fragile mate. That's just what I think," the Australian said in his post-game press conference.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their first goal with Kyle Walker on May 14, 2024© Reuters

"The last 48 hours have revealed a fair bit to me. That's alright. It just means I've got to go back to the drawing board with some things. Outside, inside, everywhere. It's been an interesting exercise."

Shades of Antonio Conte?

Tottenham managers flipping out in press conferences is nothing new; after all, Antonio Conte's position became untenable after his sensational post-match rant in last year's 3-3 draw with Southampton - he never manned a Tottenham touchline again after that.

Of course, throwing away a 3-1 lead against a Championship-bound team is not entirely comparable to a battling two-goal defeat to the champions-elect, but over the past few weeks in particular, we have seen a transition from the normally level-headed Postecoglou to one that is - perhaps ominously - losing his cool.

The 58-year-old claimed that he "just did not care" about the Arsenal rivalry business, but it was inescapable on Tuesday night; he admitted that the quiet atmosphere 100% affected his players and was even filmed having a pop at a Spurs fan behind his dugout.

There is no suggestion that Postecoglou will be heading for the exit door anytime soon, but a disastrous loss to Sheffield United this weekend - which could eliminate Spurs from European contention entirely if results do not go their way - will be an extreme test of how committed he is to this long-term project.

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CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916

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