Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino admits his side lost the physical battle with West Ham United as they missed their chance to move top of the Premier League.
Following Leicester City's draw with West Brom on Tuesday, a win would have seen Spurs move top on goal difference with a win at Upton Park on Wednesday 2 March. But Michail Antonio's seventh minute header consigned the north Londoners to a 2-1 defeat, just their fourth league loss of the season.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Pochettino also place some of the blame for the defeat on the Upton Park pitch, but admitted West Ham gave them a challenge they could not cope with.
"It was difficult for us to adapt under difficult circumstances," he said. "The pitch was the first, the second, you know how they play, they are a strong team, it is true that it was difficult to manage and play the way we play the last few games, or that we have played from the beginning of the season. It wasn't a good day for us, but in second half I think we managed to create a chance for us. We had control of the game because we have possession of the ball.
"It is difficult, it was a more physical [game] than another, the way that they [West Ham] play it is always long ball and try to fight in every action. They are strong, for us, it is difficult for the way we want to play and the pitch does not help us."
Tottenham's disappoitnment was cushioned somewhat by Arsenal's loss, after Swansea City came from behind to seal a 2-1 win at the Emirates. The Gunners travel to White Hart Lane for a huge derby match on Saturday 5 March and despite the setback in east London, Pochettino feels his side will be able to put it behind them quickly.
"For us, it is important for us to recover it quick. The competition doesn't wait for you, we need to be ready for Saturday. It is another derby.
"In this period, for a team like us, or Arsenal or Manchester City, we play a lot of games and we come from a period where we have a game every three days so it is always tough. But we need to feel good and confident in our squad and ensure we are ready for Saturday."
Tottenham found themselves behind after just seven minutes when Antonio wriggled free from his marker to meet DimitrI Payet's corner with a header Hugo Lloris was unable to keep out.
The away side failed to fashion anything of note in lacklustre first half where West Ham comfortably controlled the contest. Harry Kane had perhaps his side's best chance of the game early in the second half when Toby Alderweireld's shot was parried straight into his path, but the England striker missed the chance to convert from five yards out.