Tottenham Hotspur's meek surrender at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday may have seen Manchester City execute an exhilarating exhibition of ruthless attacking intent, but it was the manner in which the visitors lost which should cause most concern for the Spurs faithful.
Andre Villas-Boas watched his charges cave after conceding early, forcing the Spurs boss to concede that he was "ashamed" of the performance. If Villas-Boas feels that strongly about a lacklustre display he should get his stars to reimburse the Spurs fans who made the 400-mile round trip to Manchester, only to see their team capitulate.
Now it would be fair to say that Spurs fans travelled to the Etihad in hope rather than expectation on Sunday afternoon, with City rampant on home soil so far this season to hold a 100% record at Eastlands. Just 14 seconds in though and a defensive howler had the visitors trailing, with Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo putting Spurs three behind before the break.
At that point Spurs may have been well served to shut up shop and accept that a comeback was beyond them, but instead Villas-Boas gambled and introduced Emmanuel Adebayor at the break, giving City more room to run riot and produce an emphatic 6-0 victory.
Spurs have been praised for their solidity and organised approach to defending so far this season, which makes their dismal showing all the more demoralising for the 3,000 fans who shelled out £54 for a seat at the Etihad.
Individual errors can of course be forgiven, but not on the scale which saw Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertoghen, Michael Dawson and co. all fall well below the standard required of international players.
With fans reeling from their worst performance of the campaign Spurs players would be well served to put their hands in their pockets and pay back the fans who followed them north on a hiding to nothing.
Wigan Athletic's travelling contingent got their money back in 2009 after the Latics fell to a 9-1 defeat against Spurs, with the players personally refunding the supporters who watched the soul-destroying loss. Spurs may not have slipped to an eight-goal thrashing but their defeat was every bit as disappointing, particularly from a side harbouring ambitions of Champions League qualification after a major squad overhaul at White Hart Lane.
Few of the 14 players which featured for Spurs on Sunday can say hand on heart they gave 100% against Manuel Pellegrini's men, so a gesture of goodwill would go a long way towards ensuring that the travelling fans stick by their side through what could now potentially be a season of transition.
Spurs have teamed up with Thomas Cook to offer subsidised coach travel at £10 for most of this season, but should recognise a sub-par display with a further reward for their most loyal supporters.
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