Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham’s late collapse against Newcastle on Sunday was a one-off and uncharacteristic of this current team.
Eric Dier’s first-half header looked to have put Spurs on course for victory at White Hart Lane but Magpies substitutes Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez scored at the death to snatch a 2-1 win.
The shock result brings an end to Tottenham’s 14-match unbeaten run in the league and means Mauricio Pochettino’s side missed the chance to move into the top four.
Surprise home defeats have undermined the club’s bid to reach the Champions League in recent campaigns. Last season Spurs lost at home to West Brom, Newcastle, Stoke and Aston Villa.
This latest slip-up, however, was the team’s first league loss at White Hart Lane so far and Vertonghen insists it is not typical of this current side.
“You know you have to win these games if you want to stay in the top four,” Vertonghen said.
“It has been the story for us in the last couple of seasons but there is a difference in this team.
“We feel this is just an incident and in the last couple of years – that was a bit different.
“We can start another good run now. Of course we wanted to keep the run going. Hopefully we can win a couple now.”
Pochettino insisted he was not concerned by Tottenham’s performance but his side were sluggish, particularly in the second half, and a smattering of boos rang out around the stadium at the full-time whistle.
The reaction seemed harsh given this was only Spurs’ second league loss of the season but Vertonghen understood the fans’ dissatisfaction.
“It was just disappointment from the supporters. We were disappointed and they were as well. I can understand that,” he said.
“To lose a game like this is very painful. We felt very confident and it is hard to take.”
Pochettino admits he would analyse very carefully the second-half slump but the Argentinian may also want to address his players’ lack of killer instinct.
This was the third time in five league matches that his side took the lead but failed to win and Vertonghen admits Tottenham must be more clinical.
“We were trying to go for that second goal but it was Newcastle who had the better chances,” Vertonghen said.
“We were running forward trying to force something and it gave Newcastle the space, with their pace, to create more chances.
“Especially in the first half, we had to finish it. We did not score the second goal and Newcastle had the quality on the bench to turn things around.
“In my opinion, it had nothing to do with experience. We were just in that vibe and wanted to win. We started very well.
“When you try to go forward, you know you can give chances away sometimes.”