Match Report: Watson leaves Villas-Boas in desperate need of home improvements

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Wigan Atheltic 1

White Hart Lane

Andre Villas-Boas may have conquered Old Trafford but he is yet to conquer White Hart Lane.

His Tottenham side are still to produce a convincing performance at home and in this, their sixth attempt, they paid for it. Spurs were even slower and flatter than they had been here all season. This time they were bad for the whole 90 minutes. There was no second-half comeback like those which earned wins against Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers. There was barely a single useful chance.

“It was our worst performance of the season so far,” Villas-Boas said, quite rightly. “We needed to be sharper, more aggressive. We couldn’t get our passing right. We kept on doing mistakes.”

The regulars at White Hart Lane are not impressed, and made their feelings known at the final whistle. They had done so earlier, too, when Villas-Boas brought off Jermain Defoe to put on Emmanuel Adebayor.  “They want to win but we want a win as much as them,” Villas-Boas said, before promising that improvement was a priority. “We want to improve our performances at home. Results away have been a little better for us. We’ll try to get the home performances a little bit better.”

Spurs were more than a little off the pace yesterday. Wigan were superior in every aspect of the game, playing brave and progressive football, pressing from the front and well organised at the back. “Today as a team we were very, very strong and very, very difficult to play against,” said their manager, Roberto Martinez. “I don’t think we should take any credit away from Wigan Athletic players.”

With consecutive League wins, Martinez is delighted by his players’ confidence. “It is a question of mentality,” he said. “That is why I am so proud today. To get back-to-back wins this early in the season is a matter of approach. Having that winning mentality, wanting to come to White Hart Lane and get three points. To have that belief and that arrogance to go anywhere and be yourself makes you very, very proud of the team.”

Wigan playing with confidence are a very attractive team. They created far more than Spurs from open play, and should have been 2-0 up at half-time. It started when James McCarthy played in Arouna Koné, who exchanged passes with Sean Maloney and found himself giddily free in the box. Despite his time and space, Koné could only shoot straight at Brad Friedel. 

It soon happened again. This time Franco Di Santo started the move, Koné took it over and it ended with Maloney, with a free shot from the penalty spot, again hit at Friedel. The half-time whistle was a deliverance for the hosts, not the visitors.

“At half-time we knew that we created chances but they were not lucky chances,” Martinez said. “When we got the ball we moved it very, very well. We had very good interplay in the attacking third and created chances.”

Tottenham have started slowly before here this year, needing serious second-half improvements to beat Villa and QPR. Yesterday, there was just more of the same. Spurs did nothing to disrupt Wigan’s superiority and 11 minutes after the re-start, the goal came. Maloney swung in a corner, Friedel failed to deal with it and Ben Watson volleyed over the line.

It was a fair reflection of the game and the crowd knew it. When Defoe was taken off for Adebayor the crowd made their feelings known. Villas-Boas might argue that with Adebayor as a lone striker rather than half of a pair, Spurs built better. Gareth Bale had a shot from distance saved by Ali Al Habsi. Steven Caulker had a header blocked on the line.

But Wigan were more likely to score in the final minutes as Koné led a series of charges on the break and a 2-0 scoreline would not have been unfair.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Walker (Carroll, 78), Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro (Sigurdsson, 23), Huddlestone; Lennon, Dempsey, Bale; Defoe (Adebayor, 57).

Reading (3-4-3): Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, Watson, Beausejour; Di Santo (Gomez, 69), Koné, Maloney.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Man of the match: Koné (Wigan)

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago