Aston Villa v Tottenham: Pictures
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Antonio Conte claimed his sixth win in his last seven Premier League games as Tottenham leapt into the top four, but they “got away with it” against Aston Villa according to Graeme Souness. The pundit claimed that Spurs were lucky as Villa did everything but score in the west Midlands.
Conte’s side may have thrashed Villa on Saturday evening, but Souness still believes that Spurs “got away with it” as they “rode their luck”. Villa had multiple chances to equalise in the first half but were denied by the heroics of Hugo Lloris, and Souness thinks that if they took their opportunities, the north Londoners wouldn’t have been so lucky.
But victory means that Tottenham are now in the driving seat in the hunt for a top-four spot, as Arsenal and Manchester United both suffered defeats elsewhere on Saturday. However, Souness thinks that Villa will be shaking their heads, as he said: “You’d think Villa had won that game.”
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Souness said on Sky Sports: “I think they got away with it. If someone was to see the result tomorrow and hadn’t watched the game they’d think ‘well, that was a stroll for them.’ But they got away with it in the first half. They rode their luck.
“The stats… if you ignore the important one, the goals, you’d think Villa had won that game. This is a resilient Tottenham, you saw it when they went to Man City, they got the goals and looked dangerous on the break as they did in the second half today.
“They’re better organised, playing with more fire, they’ve got Romero at the back and Dier, solid players, the goalie’s been called in to do his bit. I think for Villa, they must be shaking their heads thinking ‘what more can we do to win the game?’
“They created chances, not half-chances, real chances. They were aggressive, they dominated play after the first 5 minutes, and they must be thinking ‘what else do we need to do to win a game of football?'”
And Souness’s views were similar to Villa boss Steven Gerrard, who thought that the scoreline didn’t reflect how the game went. Gerrard said following the 4-0 defeat: “It’s tough – the scoreline is harsh on us, but it’s the reality and we have to accept that. I have to accept it – I’m responsible. The story of the game certainly wasn’t a 4-0 game.
“It’s the first time in football I’ve gone off at half-time 1-0 down and been really happy and proud, we were magnificent, we didn’t take our chances but at half-time I said if we can continue this I have no doubt we get back into the game. The second half it flipped, Spurs’ quality players made it about our backline and they punished us really heavily.
“Analysing the first goal, a long straight ball we could’ve defended that better, they got a bit of luck but they’re ruthless in front of goal. To be 1-0 down at half-time was against the run of play, we were outstanding and the chances we’ve created against a top side is enough to win two or three games.
“We asked them to maintain that at half-time and we tried, we talk about defending the area around 18-yard box and Spurs punished us heavily in that area. We’ve got time – I don’t know if that’s a good thing, you want the next game quickly after a defeat like that which stings.
“But I’ve got to pick the players up and be ready for the next game. I want us to remember that first half, we have a lot to learn and defensively in the second half we have even more to learn.”
Conte also credited a tough Villa side, as he said: “We know the difficulty of playing Villa away, this stadium had a great atmosphere and I want to thank our fans because they were not in the same number but they pushed us from the start to the end.
“So to give them this type of satisfaction is great for us. We work to improve the players but also to make our fans satisfied about their team and that happened today.
“We are pleased – not an easy game but we showed resilience in the first half when Villa tried to push a lot and put a lot of pressure on us. Every time we tried to play the ball and have a chance we did score.”
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