Tottenham Hotspurs' Premier League title hopes were dealt a serious blow on Friday night as they suffered a 1-0 to West Ham at the London Stadium.
Tottenham were beaten 1-0 by West Ham last Friday to keep Chelsea's four point lead at the top of the Premier League.
"It's almost impossible, " defender Eric Dier said of Tottenham's pursuit of a first title since 1961. "We tried and I am very proud of my team - but it was a game that was hard". "We know we can play like that, but it's been a tough season and the boys have dug in fantastically".
As they had done for most of the game, the Hammers nullified every attempt by Tottenham to breach their defence after that, and could have won by a bigger margin had they been more clinical.
It was Tottenham's first defeat in 10 league games, and leaves them four points off the leaders, having played a game extra. "When we conceded it was so hard to come back in the game".
"It may sound odd, but the game we lost 3-2 at White Hart Lane in early November, we wanted to repeat it because we were really good in that game". They have also played on extra match.
Few people in either camp would have foreseen any other outcome, either, with West Ham limping towards the finishing line of what has been a torrid season.
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Tottenham's despair was in stark contrast to West Ham who not only put a huge dent in their local rivals' hopes of a first title since 1961, but also guaranteed their own safety.
Speaking after the match, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "We are feeling disappointed".
There was no improvement in the second half and Ayew, left unmarked 18 yards out, should have made them pay as he blasted over.
"There are three games left, one very important one next week for the club, for the fans, against a big opponent, a massive club". If you want to be a champion, today was a game we must win.
"Slaven Bilic has my full backing".
"And although they have blown the league title for the second consecutive year, this team is very close to winning something major".