André Villas-Boas said he would not resign in the wake of a drubbing at the hands of Liverpool which, he admitted, has cast Tottenham Hostpur's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League into serious doubt and left him fighting for his job.
The Spurs manager's team were utterly overrun, with Paulinho sent off for a lunge into the midriff of their tormentor in chief, Luis Suárez, as they sank without trace. While Villas-Boas' team are seventh and only five points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, he conceded the psychological damage provoked by a home thrashing this brutal, coming just three weeks after they lost 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium, has undermined the side's prospects of finishing in the top four.
It has also left him teetering on the brink. Villas-Boas expects to speak to the club's chairman, Daniel Levy, at some stage early this week, though no formal meeting has been scheduled. "Everybody's down," he said. "It's the second expressive scoreline we've suffered this season and we admit that, in the Premier League, things aren't going in any shape or form the way we want it. We all have high expectations this season and we still have them. We're not far off but the distance is increasingly from those Champions League spots. The expressive result makes it difficult to bounce back.
"We've done it in the past, though, and I have belief in the players, so we'll try to do that again. Our League Cup and Europa League form is completely different and we still dream of winning a trophy this season but the reality is we're still completely far off our expectations in the Premier League."
Serious doubts had emerged within the Tottenham hierarchy over Villas-Boas' long-term suitability after that 6-0 defeat at City last month and this 5-0 result damages his prospects despite a recent run that had returned seven points from three games. Asked whether he is concerned as to whether he would be able to fulfil the remaining 18 months of this contract, Villas-Boas said: "It's not my call. I can't control that. I have to get down to work. That's the only thing I can focus on. The call on that decision is not mine. I won't resign and I'm not a quitter. The only thing I can do is work hard with the players and try and get the results back on track.
"This is a top-four squad but in the Premier League the form isn't there. We built this squad to be up there challenging. We have the squad, the ability, and we believe in each other but the results are not there to prove it. We could have been level on points today with Liverpool but it went the other way. It's not the points tally that prevents us from dreaming with our position in the league. It's actually the expression of the results which has been difficult, from 3-0 at home to West Ham, to 6-0 at City and now 5-0 here. These things are costing us much more."
He said Paulinho's "harsh" dismissal for a high boot had been the game's pivotal moment, though the hosts were trailing by two goals at that stage and had offered little indication they were capable of recovering that deficit. Suárez, as they sank without trace was outstanding, swelling his Premier League goal tally to 17 in 11 appearances this season – more than 10 of the 20 top-flight clubs have managed – as Liverpool made light of Steven Gerrard's absence through injury.
The Uruguayan captained the side for the first time and Brendan Rodgers revelled in his display. "Inspirational," said Liverpool's manager, whose side had not won away from home in the league since September.
"I wanted someone who could represent me and the club in that tunnel before we step on the pitch. If Luis Suárez is standing with the armband on, everyone knows this is a team who's ready to go out and fight.
"That was probably our most complete performance. The model of our game was outstanding. We were like animals without the ball, and our hunger to get it back was great. I loved our arrogance with the ball today: we looked a real threat while retaining our solidity.
"My job was to develop the style of football while moving the club forward and that's what we've tried to do. Obviously you dream. I didn't come here to be fourth, third or second. Eventually you want to win. But you have to be realistic as well. We were eighth. Last year we were seventh. If we can stay clear of injury and continue to improve our football, let's see where it takes us."