London: Tottenham Hotspur have frequently spoken about the need to tighten up their leaky defence over the last few weeks but striker Harry Kane said it is time to put words into action after they coughed up early goals again on Sunday.
Liverpool were 3-0 up inside 15 minutes at Anfield and while Tottenham pegged the hosts back to 3-3, Diogo Jota’s stoppage-time goal earned the Merseyside club a 4-3 victory.
Spurs conceded five in the opening 21 minutes of a 6-1 rout at Newcastle United and fell behind after only seven minutes in Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
Not learning the lessons
Kane said their performance in the early stages of Sunday’s game showed they had not learned their lesson.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened this season. We need to start understanding big games better,” he told Sky Sports.
“We’ve shown we can come back into games and to do it here away at Anfield shows what we’re capable of but to have the starts we have had are hard to put into words and are unacceptable.
“There’s only so many words you can use, the bottom line is you need to go out there and show it isn’t that case.”
Interim coach Ryan Mason said the players had to be ready from the first whistle.
“If you’re not ready to start games with full intensity you’re going to concede goals and to be 3-0 down after that time is hard,” Mason told the BBC.
“The manner in which we concede the last goal makes it impossible to take. I need to speak to the players on that, we need to address it and do it quickly.”
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League after a hard-fought 2-1 win away at Fulham. City’s eighth consecutive league win followed their 4-1 home victory over Arsenal on Wednesday and lifted them one point ahead of Arsenal.
On Sunday, Pep Guardiola’s side took an early lead when Erling Haaland smashed home his 50th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Tim Ream fouled Julian Alvarez. Fulham showed considerable resilience and equalized thanks to Carlos Vinicius in the 15th minute.
Alvarez scored what turned out to be the winning goal with a stunning shot outside the box, a Xinhua report said.
Newcastle United remained third, with a nine-point cushion over fifth, after coming back from 1-0 down at home to bottom-of-the-table Southampton.
Stuart Armstrong stunned St James’ Park in the 41st minute of the game, but Callum Wilson levelled in the 54th minute as Newcastle took the initiative. It wasn’t until the 79th minute that Theo Walcott sliced a clearance into his own net to put them ahead.
Wilson secured the points with his second of the game two minutes later and was only denied a hat-trick by the woodwork in the closing moments.
Manchester United strengthened their grip on fourth thanks to a 39th-minute goal from Bruno Fernandes, which dented Aston Villa’s European hopes.
Liverpool took advantage of Villa’s defeat to move up to fifth after a crazy 4-3 win at home against Tottenham.
Brighton can still qualify for Europe next season after a comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton on Saturday, with Pascal Gross, Deniz Undav, and Danny Welbeck all scoring twice in a result that, if anything, flattered a completely outplayed and outclassed rival.
Nottingham Forest suffered late heartbreak as Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilva scored late goals to cancel out Danilo’s goal at the end of the first half and give Brentford a 2-1 win.
Toney netted in the 82nd minute, and Dasilva scored four minutes into injury time to deny Forest anything from the game they looked like winning.
Crystal Palace moved up to 40 points with a thrilling 4-3 win over West Ham, who still have work to do to avoid relegation.
Tomas Soucek put West Ham ahead in the ninth minute, but goals from Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha, and Jeffrey Schlupp put Palace 3-1 up after 30 minutes.
Michail Antonio scored for West Ham in the 35th minute, but a controversial 66th-minute penalty from Eberechi Eze put Palace two goals clear again. Although Nayef Aguerd made it 4-3, Palace held on for the points.
Bournemouth’s incredible recovery continues, and they look to be almost safe after a 4-1 thumping of Leeds United, who are still in desperate trouble.
Two goals from Jefferson Lerma put Bournemouth on their way in the 20th and 24th minutes, and although Patrick Bamford gave Leeds hope, second-half goals from Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo rounded off a famous win that leaves Bournemouth 10 points clear of the bottom three.