AVB: We played better than Newcastle

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas felt his players deserved more from the game after he saw them lose out 2-1 to Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena.


In a clash between last season`s fourth- and fifth-placed teams, Demba Ba`s clinical finish and Hatem Ben Arfa's penalty either side of Jermain Defoe`s equaliser did the trick for the home side.

It was perhaps harsh on Tottenham who made most of the running and also hit the woodwork through Defoe.

Spurs more than matched their hosts and, barring misfortune, could have taken at least a point.

"We deserved more, played well, had the chances in the first half and pushed in the second," Villas-Boas said.

"We deserved something extra for the effort we did and the game we played. We showed why we did so well last season and deserved more."

The Portuguese coach was shorn of the services of Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, with the playmaker poised for a move to Real Madrid.

"It's a situation that is in the chairman's hands. It's ongoing," was all he would say.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew ended the game watching in the stands after being banished for pushing the linesman over a contentious decision.

He was quick to apologise after, though, admitting he had gone against the instructions he had given his players.

"It was ridiculous, I apologise publicly," he said.

"I thought the ball was out, I shoved him. I have pleaded with my players to behave and follow the Olympic spirit. I can only apologise, I've been to see him and told him I didn't know what I was thinking."

Pardew singled out the performance of Ba, whose contractual situation has left his Magpies future in doubt, insisting the player has always remained at the forefront of his plans despite his long spell without a goal.

Pardew added: "It probably was important for Demba but only in terms of goalscoring. He has been brilliant for us when we have asked him to play on the side and he has done it again today and come up with a goal.

"It was the first game of the season today and I think it just showed that sometimes it is character and spirit that can win through. We had to match what Spurs were doing, we changed things at half-time and I thought we just about edged it."

Newcastle captain Jonas Gutierrez was only interested in the result and was delighted with the Magpies' performance as they opened their season with a home win.

"Tottenham are a really good team and it was important to start with three points," he told ESPN.

"We are happy with the team and we had to win. We had a few chances, they did, and we took the opportunity to take three points."

Ba`s goal was a welcome return to form for a man who was sensational for the first half of last season but played second fiddle to Papiss Cisse after Christmas.

"It was a good game for us. It`s our first game, we got the three points and it`s always important to have a good start. It is always very good," he said.

"It was very important to get a goal, but I am not running only for goals. The more I play well, the more the team wins. But, it`s my first goal and I am very happy."

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