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Nuno: Tottenham “were the better team” despite West Ham loss


West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

I don’t envy professional football managers who have to go in front of the media after a big loss and try to explain what happens. It’s gotta be tough, but that’s also part of the job and why they get paid the big bucks. Nuno Espirito Santo was once again put in that situation today after Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 loss at West Ham, but while I expected the usual platitudes about working hard and analyze afterwards and try to improve and we go again, what we got instead was... not that.

“Not too many [positives] but when you lose a game like today that I believe we were the better team, the only positive is feeling that there are aspects to improve that will guide us to winning more matches.

“The way we conceded [was not good] but apart from I think that we had a good game, we had possession we had control of the game, we created, besides the counter attacks of West Ham we didn’t allow many situations. We should be better in the offensive box, the chance to be aggressive in that moment of the game. This is my thought.”

blinking man, meme

Look, press conferences are weird things that are set up to generate drama in newspaper headlines and quite frankly I admire Nuno for saying things publicly that protect his players from criticism. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the LAST guy we had in charge full time. But there’s a difference between protecting your players and just flat out staying stuff that isn’t true. I don’t think there’s a ton of evidence to suggest that Spurs were anything close to “the better team” today, not after going the entire second half without a shot on target and not making a sub for like 175 consecutive minutes of match time.

And speaking of substitutions, though Nuno did make three of them today they were all way, WAY too late for those players to make any sort of positive impact on the match. Not that Nuno was bothering to second guess his decision making there either.

“The game like I said was under control. Changes are required when we think we should. The boys were playing good and then we made the changes in the moment that we felt that the team needed.

“West Ham defend in the box with a lot of men. There was not much space and we should’ve moved the ball faster and go to wide areas. But is always difficult when the team and all men are behind the ball, it is difficult to find spaces and gaps.”

I still prefer this style of public-facing management than what The Other Guy™ put out there (see Mourinho’s press conference after Roma’s 6-1 Europa League drubbing to Bodø/Glimt on Thursday), but at minimum I expect to not burst out laughing when I read a press conference transcript. Thanks for protecting your guys, Nuno. Honestly! That’s a good thing! But don’t insult my intelligence.