It was West Ham that convincingly ended Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of winning the Premier League as Manuel Lanzini’s second-half strike condemned them to a 1-0 defeat.
After winning nine matches on the bounce in the league, Spurs had the opportunity to cut the gap between themselves and Chelsea to just one point but will instead have to watch on nervously as Antonio Conte’s men look to extend their lead to a surely title-ending seven points against Middlesbrough on Monday.
As with their title run-in with Leicester last season and in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, Spurs came up short where it really mattered.
And Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned their inability to find a way through the must-win games.
‘We played with how we did always – today was difficult but you can’t always play that well every week,’ he said immediately after the loss.
‘It’s a difficult question, if from there you win the league you learn. If you finish second, you improve.
‘In football, in the moment you need to win in the moments. Today was a key moment and you need to show. It’s not about running more or less, it’s about if you win, you win.
‘If you want to be a champion you must win. How? I don’t know. Today we missed a little bit.’
The opening half was a cagey affair, with more contentious action than chances in front of goal.
Mark Noble went in heavily on Eric Dier, which earned him a yellow, although many called for red, while Hugo Lloris was perhaps fortunate to get away with a heavy challenge on Lanzini as he raced through on goal.