Nuno says Tottenham 'have to improve' after Manchester United drubbing

Spurs fail to muster a single shot on target after going down to goals from Ronaldo, Cavani and Rashford

Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo says his side "have to improve" following a 3-0 drubbing at home to Manchester United on Saturday.

Spurs failed to muster a single shot on target as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and substitute Marcus Rashford inflicted a fifth loss in 10 Premier League games under the Portuguese.

A chorus of boos and chants against Nuno greeted his decision to withdraw Lucas Moura just seven minutes after the restart. The Brazilian had been Spurs' most lively attacker, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min again off song.

Supporters then turned their ire to Daniel Levy, calling for the chairman to step down after years of underachievement following successive top-four finishes under previous coach Mauricio Pochettino from 2016 to 2019.

“We have to improve all of us,” Nuno said. “It’s not about individually. As a team we have to do much better. It’s not only about our offensive game. We are vulnerable in defence. We concede. We keep the ball, yes, we make 10 shots, none of them on goal.

“We have to be more accurate. The final pass. It’s always not the right line. It’s behind, it’s front. So we have to improve. We have to improve.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium under even more pressure than his Tottenham counterpart but was offered a reprieve thanks to a combination of United's potency and an insipid home side.

After collecting one point from four games, Solskjaer's changed tactics and personnel worked — deploying a three-man defence including the fit-again Raphael Varane and pairing Cavani up front with Ronaldo.

It was the strike force with a combined age of 70 and more than 1,000 goals between them that did the most damage with two moments of quality.

Ronaldo, 36, has been criticised in some quarters as upsetting the balance in United's otherwise energetic and youthful squad but gave a timely reminder of his quality with a superb volley on 39 minutes following a cross from Bruno Fernandes.

The Portuguese then turned provider for Cavani, sliding in his strike partner for the Uruguayan to dink a delightful finish over the advancing Lloris.

Ronaldo was replaced on 70 minutes by England international Rashford who sealed victory with a curling strike on 86 minutes to move United up to fifth in the table.

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It was just the tonic following last week's 5-0 capitulation at home to Liverpool, and Solskjaer said the win allowed the whole club to put a difficult week behind them.

“It’s been a difficult week for the players, for the club, for the fans, for me," Solskjaer said. “I’ve stayed away from most of the noise, but you know what’s happening out there. You know that you have to put a performance ... but for us, we needed this week.

“We needed a whole week to work on this, this performance and it’s probably the first, or the last time for a while we have a long week to work, so it was an important one, just to work on fitness, mentality and of course we changed the tactic.”

Saturday's lacklustre display was the first time in seven years that Spurs failed to have an attempt on target in a Premier League home match.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said his team needed to show more pride after a third 3-0 defeat of the season.

"We expect more. We expect more belief. More pride," Lloris said. "This is not the first time [we have played this poorly], even at home. We expected more against Chelsea," the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

"We need to reanalyse and find some good. It's not a good moment at all. We concede too much, we don't score enough, we don't create enough.

"We've only played 10 games in the league, but there's too much up and down. In one game we go through so many emotions. We seem to always go down. Confidence is key also."

Updated: October 31st 2021, 5:01 AM
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