Mauricio Pochettino admitted his Tottenham stars are suffering from fatigue after they lost for the first time at their new stadium as Michail Antonio fired West Ham to a surprise 1-0 victory on Saturday.
Pochettino’s side had won all four matches at their new £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
But Antonio’s clinical second half strike ended that run as the West Ham winger became the first visiting player to score in the plush arena.
Third placed Tottenham’s second defeat in their last three Premier League games put a dent in their bid to finish in the top four.
They hold a three-point lead over fourth placed Chelsea and are four points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal, with both team in action on Sunday.
It was a frustrating warm-up for Tottenham’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Ajax in north London on Tuesday.
Blaming Tottenham’s hectic fixture list for their defeat, Pochettino said: “We cannot put away the circumstance. They arrived fresh and ready to compete, for us it is completely different.
“We were tired. We knew that it was going to be tough because it was a derby, but we have to move on.
“It was really tough today. We did not manage the ball properly. In the second half we conceded a lot of space for them to counter attack.”
Conceding that Tottenham had hurt their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, Pochettino added: “It is a fight, it is a race, with two games to play. We knew that before.”
Pochettino revealed this week that injured striker Harry Kane hopes to be fit for the Champions League final if Tottenham make it and the England captain was watching from the stands as his club’s unbeaten start in the new stadium came to an end.