Mauricio Pochettino admitted Tottenham’s gruelling schedule may have caught up with them after they missed the chance to go top of the Premier League.
Spurs travelled to West Ham on Wednesday night knowing a victory would have taken them above Leicester, but Michail Antonio’s first-half strike secured a 1-0 victory for the Hammers and ended Tottenham’s six-game winning run.
Having to juggle their Premier League commitments with the Europa League and – until last week – the FA Cup appeared to have taken its toll on Pochettino’s players at Upton Park.
The Spurs boss said: “We are near the top after a very busy period. We played Europa League, FA Cup and now three Premier League games in one week. It’s tough.
“The Premier League is very competitive, with no easy games. You need to be 100 per cent mentally and physically.
“But there is no excuse, only that we were poor in the first half.”
Antonio struck after just seven minutes, heading in Dimitri Payet’s corner at the near post.
The closest Spurs came to replying was on the hour mark when Harry Kane failed to connect with the rebound after Adrian saved Toby Alderweireld’s long-range shot.
But West Ham held on to move to within a point of Manchester City in fourth place, though Hammers manager Slaven Bilic is not thinking about a Champions League place just yet.
“Every manager is trying to calm their teams down,” he said.
“We are really not thinking about that, and we shouldn’t be.
“The gap is not big. But unfortunately the gap is also not big between seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th, and there are still many games to go.
“It’s a very open season but we will approach the remainder of it very confidently.”
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