Redknapp left to scratch his head after Rossi's hat-trick

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Villarreal 4

It may have been their first pre-season warm-up back on home soil, designed to give as many players as possible a run-out. But Harry Redknapp must have been relieved last night that it was only a friendly rather than Tottenham's Champions League debut.

After watching a makeshift Spurs side dispatched by Spanish opponents who were classy but hardly world-beaters, Redknapp will be looking for considerably more sharpness and cohesion as he considers how to meet the new Premier League requirement of 25-man squads.

Not too much should be read into last night's error-strewn display since no fewer than eight first-teamers were missing, either rested or nursing long-term injuries or short-term knocks. But as an exercise in building momentum following their recent US tour, there were few signs of encouragement ahead of a campaign that starts against Manchester City on 14 August before that eagerly awaited Champions League qualifier a few days later.

Jermain Defoe was back after his post-World Cup break, along with England colleagues Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson. It would not be fair to single them out but none rose above the mediocrity. Villarreal, who finished seventh in La Liga, may not be among the most illustrious names in Spain but have just won themselves a place in the Europa League at the expense of Mallorca, banned by Uefa due to financial irregularities pending an appeal.

With their European-style 4-1-4-1 formation, they provided a stern test and struck with venom on the counterattack as all good Continental sides do. By half-time, the former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi had given them a two-goal cushion with his still-sweet left foot.

Having already lost Jermaine Jenas through injury, Redknapp made a string of further changes, notably including Giovani Dos Santos. The Mexican, farmed out on loan last season but such a threat for his country at the World Cup, had a point to prove and reduced the deficit on 56 minutes just after Nico Kranjcar's rifling effort was disallowed for offside.

Rossi responded by duly completing his hat-trick and Marco Ruben added a fourth but Redknapp, for whom worrying injuries are already stacking up, refused to chastise his players, instead attacking the schedule. "Villarreal were excellent, far better than us," he said.

"But I didn't want this game, it was far too quick. It's not an excuse but we've just come back from a gruelling trip and everyone is waking up at 3am. The schedule is just crazy. It's pre-season and the last thing we need right now are games. We should be on the training pitch working." Instead, Spurs play Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday.

Tottenham Hotpsur (4-4-2): Gomes (Button, h-t); Hutton (Walker, h-t), Dawson (Bassong, h-t), Corluka, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto, h-t); Kranjcar (Taarabt, 80), Huddlestone (Parrett, 78), Jenas (Rose, 18), Lennon (Bale, h-t); Keane (Crouch, h-t), Defoe (Giovani, h-t).

Villarreal (4-1-4-1): D Lopez (Oliva); A Lopez (Gaspar), Catala (Castellani, 86), Musacchio (Valero), Oriol; Senna (Ruben); Cani (Montero), Fuster (Kiko), Soriano (Insa, 78), Cazorla (Cristobal); Rossi (Perez, 78).

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week