Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Champions League suffered a hammer blow as they conceded five times in the first 21 minutes of a humiliating 6-1 defeat at top-four rivals Newcastle on Sunday.
Cristian Stellini’s side were buried by an avalanche of goals from Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak, who both netted twice, and strikes from Joelinton and Callum Wilson.
Harry Kane’s reply was no consolation for woeful Tottenham, who look certain to miss out on a place in the Premier League’s top four after a second successive loss.
The north Londoners are six points behind third placed Newcastle and fourth placed Manchester United, having played two more games than United and one more than Newcastle.
Fifth placed Tottenham host United on Thursday and a defeat against Erik ten Hag’s team would surely end their faint hopes of salvaging their troubled campaign.
There is a bleak future ahead for Tottenham, who have no permanent manager lined up for next season and no director of football after Fabio Paratici’s resignation on Friday.
Paratici stepped down after failing in his appeal against a 30-month worldwide FIFA ban for his involvement in allegations of false accounting at his former club Juventus.
Tottenham’s heaviest defeat of the season was a new low for a club already in turmoil after Antonio Conte’s departure by “mutual consent” in March after just 16 months in charge.
Conte had exposed the rifts behind the scenes at Tottenham when he called the players “selfish” and criticised the club’s culture in an explosive rant after their draw at lowly Southampton.
Tottenham haven’t won a major trophy since 2008 and their latest setback could increase the chances of England striker Harry Kane asking to leave in the close-season.
Fans are also unhappy with chairman Daniel Levy, who has gone through a host of unsuccessful managers since sacking the popular Mauricio Pochettino in 2019.
In contrast to Tottenham’s struggles, Newcastle are riding the crest of a wave that should carry them into the Champions League for the first time since 2003, when they were eliminated in the qualifying rounds.
Revived by the financial muscle of their Saudi-backed ownership group and boss Eddie Howe’s astute leadership, Newcastle reached their first cup final since 1999 earlier this season when they lost to Manchester United in the League Cup showpiece.
They took just 61 seconds to put Tottenham to the sword as Hugo Lloris could only palm Joelinton’s shot out to Murphy, who fired into the roof of the net from close-range.
Newcastle doubled their lead after six minutes when Fabian Schar’s pass eluded the flat-footed Cristian Romero and Joelinton rounded Lloris to slot into the empty net.
Rampant Newcastle scored a stunning third goal in the ninth minute as Son Heung-min was dispossessed too easily by Schar and Murphy unleashed a 25-yard drive that swerved past Lloris.
Newcastle were the first team to score three goals within the opening nine minutes of a Premier League match since Manchester City against Burnley in 2010.
There was no let-up from the Magpies and Joe Willock’s superb pass with the outside of his foot split the shambolic Tottenham defence, reaching Isak for a composed finish from 10 yards.
By the time Sweden forward Isak scored Newcastle’s fifth in the 21st minute with a close-range strike from Sean Longstaff’s pass, Tottenham’s shell-shocked fans were already heading for the exits.
It was the second fastest 5-0 lead in Premier League history after Manchester City, who took 18 minutes to do it against Watford in 2019.
Interim boss Stellini had gambled on switching to a back four but he had to revert to five defenders after just 24 minutes when he sent on Davinson Sanchez.
Lloris was replaced by Fraser Forster at half-time and Kane reduced the deficit in the 49th minute before Wilson stabbed home in the 67th minute to complete Tottenham’s misery.
In Sunday’s other game, West Ham boosted their bid to avoid relegation with a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth thanks to goals from Michail Antonio, Lucas Paqueta, Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals.
Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: email@example.com Or join the Daily Express WhatsApp channel for all the latest news and trends or join the Telegram Channel for the latest updates.