Interim Tottenham boss Cristian Stellini has told his bruised and battered troops to put their humiliation at Newcastle firmly behind them as they prepare to lock horns with Manchester United.
Stellini and his players headed away from Tyneside on Sunday evening with their tails between their legs after a 6-1 Premier League drubbing at St James’ Park which severely dented their hopes of a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.
However, they have little time during which to lick their wounds with Carabao Cup winners and FA Cup finalists United due at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday evening intent on cementing their own top four status.
Stellini told SPURSPLAY: “Now, we have to be responsible. We have to go back to our stadium, back after this performance.
“We have to throw this feeling away, immediately.”
That may prove easier said than done after Spurs were ripped apart inside 21 minutes on Tyneside.
They were 3-0 down just nine minutes in after Jacob Murphy struck twice either side of Joelinton’s fine finish and the game was over before the first half had reached its mid-point when Alexander Isak helped himself to a quick-fire double.
Harry Kane, who had earlier fired just wide when he might have done better, reduced the deficit four minutes after the break, but substitute Callum Wilson ensured a bleak afternoon in the north-east ended in further misery.
Asked what he had said at half-time, Stellini, who had opted to start with a back four in which Croatia international midfielder Ivan Perisic lined up at left-back, said: “We didn’t speak a lot.
“We changed the system and the only thing we could say was that we had to play much better in the second half and prepare for the next game.
“I didn’t want to lose the second half. It was important to find a bit of confidence, if you can, after a game like this.”
As he reflected on the wreckage of a catastrophic trip north, Stellini issued an apology for an abject display and vowed to get to the bottom of what had gone so badly wrong.
He said: “We have to analyse, take a breath and understand what happened from the start in an important game like today. We have to take a breath and don’t speak too much.
“The best thing we can say is that we apologise to everyone; the second is to analyse why and if the change of system affected this performance, because the performance in the first 25 minutes was really bad.”