The Premier League is not a welcoming institution for new boys. Reading, promoted to the top flight after mastering the Championship, were educated on their own ground by Tottenham Hotspur yesterday. Football at this level is a technical and tactical examination which, for all their unity and spirit, Brian McDermott's side could not meet.
What can the Reading manager have made of claims that Tottenham were struggling, undermanned and unbalanced, that they lacked fluency in midfield, that they could not control games or see out results?
This was the first real show of what Andre Villas-Boas's Tottenham are meant to look like. They spent the first-half playing around Reading and the second beating them on the break. Jermain Defoe scored twice but could have had five, and Gareth Bale added the other.
Villas-Boas wore the delight of a man who had finally seen a plan come together. "I am extremely happy," he said, "because the players put commitment into the game, responsibility and concentration. They performed so well that they kicked out the anxiety and played in such a confident and concentrated way that they were able to express their talents and have fun in the game, which is the most important thing."
Reading, who scored a late consolation goal through Hal Robson-Kanu, did not look like they were enjoying themselves. "I didn't recognise us in the first half," said McDermott afterwards. "I felt we were too submissive. We did not get on the ball enough and we did not get in their faces."
Defoe, who just missed a hat-trick goal in the last minute, said: "Our season starts now."Reuse content