Stellini ‘responsible’ for 6-1 loss at Newcastle with Spurs ‘not prepared to play an important match’

Jason Soutar
Cristian Stellini looks frustrated

Cristian Stellini admits he is responsible for Tottenham’s embarrassing 6-1 defeat at Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.

Spurs were 5-0 down after 21 minutes at St James’ Park after Stellini abandoned his back five for a back four.

The change of formation was not a surprise given their 3-2 home defeat to Bournemouth last week, but it clearly did not go to plan and Stellini reverted back to his side’s usual system during the game when he brought off Pape Matar Sarr for centre-back Davinson Sanchez in the 23nd minute.

It was a huge match for Spurs and Newcastle with both teams competing for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

Newcastle gave their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League a major boost, while the Londoners will now feel battered and bruised ahead of their crucial fixtures against Manchester United and Liverpool next week.

It will be another huge week in their season and Stellini has a big job on his hands to make sure his players have recovered mentally and physically.

Speaking about the demoralising 6-1 defeat at Newcastle, Stellini said his side “were not prepared enough” and accepted full responsibility for the result.

“It went so badly because we were not prepared enough to play an important match,” he said. “We have a good squad but today no-one showed how good we are.

“It was my responsibility to decide how we play and we decided to do it differently because of the injuries. It is my responsibility, I took it and it was wrong.

“I have to take responsibility because once we changed system we played better, scored and showed fight. Its very difficult to understand why the first 25 minutes were so bad.”

When asked why he changed to a back four, Stellini replied: “To give energy to the players because we spoke in the week it would be possible to change system, but obviously we didn’t show this.

“We were not prepared to play this type of tough game. To suffer, control the space, win duels, we were not well prepared.

“We had a good mood before the game but if you do not show this during the game. The change showed a different idea.”

As mentioned prior, young midfielder Sarr was brought off shortly after the Magpies’ fifth goal.

Explaining what he said to Sarr, Stellini said: “I said to him, it was not his mistake or his problem.

“We knew that the first 20 minutes here will be difficult for everyone, just don’t concede a goal, after the first shot we conceded the first goal.

“I am the coach and I am above them, I have to protect them and they deserve my protection. Today I have to take this responsibility.”

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