Tony Pulis rued a bad day at the office for West Bromwich Albion after his side were beaten out of sight by title-chasing Tottenham.
From the first whistle, Spurs were streets ahead of the Baggies, who went down 4-0 at White Hart Lane as Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick either side of a Gareth McAuley own goal.
Albion have notoriously made life difficult for Spurs in recent times but had no answer to a dominant display from Mauricio Pochettino’s in-form side.
Head coach Pulis refused to attack his players for their poor showing and praised Spurs but admitted the performance was nowhere near the levels it needed to be at.
He told Sky Sports afterwards: “When you come to these grounds against these teams you’ve got to be at your best – not just technically but mentally as well and I think we were short today.
“I’m not going to criticise our players – our players have done fantastically so far this year.
“But today we just weren’t on it. I don’t take no credit away from Tottenham who are a very good team but our lads weren’t right on that mettle today and you’ve got to be.
“If you’re not then you’ll get punished and that is what has happened today.”
Despite being dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Derby County last weekend, the Baggies had won their previous two league games after conceding the first goal and arrived in north London eighth in the table.
But Pulis conceded that the quality of Spurs shone through on this occasion and it will be an experience his side won’t dwell on too much.
“We’re human beings and we have good days and bad days at times – even outside of football, never mind in football,” he said.
“Like I said, I don’t want to take anything away from Spurs. They were very, very good and Kane gets his hat-trick but for us, like I said to the players, you have to be on it against these teams and we’ve done that this year.
“We’ve really worked hard at the bigger clubs and have been unfortunate not to get results but today we were miles off it and it was disappointing but we’ll dust ourselves down and move on.”
The thumping victory was Spurs’ seventh in a row in all competitions – which lifted them up to second in the table and to within four points of leaders Chelsea – who play at champions Leicester on Saturday evening.
But despite being in great shape and their lofty position, Pulis wouldn’t definitively say whether Pochettino’s men can sustain a title challenge and feels the gap between the best and the rest is wider than ever.
“I said before the game they’ve got real quality but it’s a tough league and there are some very, very good sides,” he commented.
“The top six of the Premiership this year could be the biggest gap ever from the sixth position to the seventh position because that’s how far ahead they are from the rest of us.”