London – Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas admits his side are suffering from early-season anxiety problems following a third Premier League game without a win.
A late equaliser from Robert Snodgrass gave Norwich a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday and left Villas-Boas still waiting for his first win as Spurs boss.
Spurs looked set to celebrate their first three points under the former Chelsea manager, who replaced the sacked Harry Redknapp in the close-season, when new signing Mousa Dembele came off the bench to mark his debut with a 68th-minute strike.
But Snodgrass levelled with five minutes remaining and Tottenham, who had lost at Newcastle on the opening day and were held 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion last week, were booed off on the final whistle.
“It was a different game to last week but a goal conceded in more or less the same way,” Villas-Boas said. “It is disappointing for us to suffer again in the dying moments of the game.
“When things happen like this we have to work on our concentration and our sharpness to make sure these situations don't happen again.
“It is a pity that we have worked during the week to try to solve it. But it hasn't been enough so we will continue to pursue it.
“We were not as sharp as last week. There was a lot of anxiety but there was a good response in the second half.
“Obviously this is not the start we wanted and the start we deserve. We had two good games, Newcastle and West Brom, that we didn't win.
“Everybody wants to build more confidence by getting those first three points and when that happens we will feel less anxiety and show a little bit more talent.”
Villas-Boas, who will appeal against the straight red card shown to substitute Tom Huddlestone for a late challenge on Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson, did not blame the fans for their grumbling.
“You have to accept their disappointment,” he said. “It has not been the ideal start to the season but it doesn't mean that we haven't been working hard to get the wins that our fans want.
“They have to understand that we are doing everything in our power to get it.”
Dembele, who cost £15 million from Fulham, was the only new recruit to feature, as France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and forward Clint Dempsey, who also left Fulham in a £6 million deal, had not signed in time to play.
Tottenham had been forced to concede defeat in their attempts to sign Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho from Porto before the transfer deadline however.
“We agreed player terms late but there were situations regarding the contract that were not right so we didn't complete the transfer,” Villas-Boas said.
“But we have solutions and we have cover enough. Moutinho's transfer not happening should not overshadow the fact we have pulled off one of the biggest coups of the transfer market with Clint Dempsey, who is a player who can really help us to go one step further.”
Norwich are also still looking for their first Premier League win of the season and manager Chris Hughton, the former Tottenham player and assistant coach, felt his side had deserved more.
“When you're away from home, particularly against the quality of what they have here, and when you play as well as we did, then arguably yes we did deserve to win,” he said.
“Sometimes away from home if you don't take your chances then the law of averages - particularly against a team this good - says that they wear you down and make the most of that one opportunity. But the thing I was most pleased with was the response.
“We are playing quite well at the moment, but to go one behind here, not let their heads drop, force the equaliser and then have the chance at the end, speaks volumes for them.” – Sapa-AFP