Tottenham suffer blow to top-four ambitions with Aston Villa defeat

Tottenham Hotspur suffered a blow to their top-four ambitions as they started 2023 with a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa at home.

Hugo Lloris' mistake in the build-up to Emiliano Buendia's opening goal in the 50th minute set the tone for Tottenham as they conceded first for the 10th game in a row in all competitions.

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Douglas Luiz made sure of the victory for Unai Emery's side with his 73rd-minute finish to leave Tottenham boss Antonio Conte with plenty of problems.

"I'm sure that if we don't concede the goal, we could win the game instead," Conte said. "The goal that we conceded killed us in confidence. We have to fight and show that we are strong. The league will be very difficult for us."

Tottenham had the first real chance for either side in the 40th minute when Ashley Young was forced into a fine goalline clearance from a Harry Kane header after good work from Ivan Perisic.

But it was Villa who took the lead after half-time through Buendia's low drive after Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris spilled a Luiz shot from distance.

And they stunned Tottenham again when Luiz darted onto the end of a brilliant pass from John McGinn to poke past Lloris and confirm a damaging loss for the north London side.

Emery praised Villa keeper Robin Olsen, who surprisingly kept his place in the team despite the return of World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez, but said the Argentina international remained his No. 1.

"It was our plan to give him a rest but we are working with Robin too, to give him confidence," Emery told reporters.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.