Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas refused to condemn Emmanuel Adebayor or his side's defending despite watching them crash to another north London derby drubbing at Arsenal.
It was deja vu for Spurs in Villas-Boas' first visit to the Emirates Stadium as they went down 5-2 there for the second time in nine months.
They also had a man sent off and this time it cost them dearly as Adebayor pushed the self destruct button shortly after putting them 1-0 up against his former club.
However, Villas-Boas repeatedly sidestepped questions about the former Gunners striker, even claiming Tottenham "were in control from the first minute to the last minute".
When pressed on the red card - shown for a studs-up challenge on Santi Cazorla - Villas-Boas had no complaints with it, but also refused to criticise his player.
Insisting the striker had nothing to apologise for, Villas-Boas said: "Ade went into the challenge not to harm Cazorla.
"Cazorla is quick, he reacted, he took the ball away before Ade's feet met his foot and the ref has to make a decision and he decided for the red card.
"We understand that it could've been any other player on any other day. This is football and challenges like this happen."
The Portuguese also dismissed suggestions Adebayor may have been too wound up against his former club.
"I don't think so," he said. "We make the most out of players' revolts, players' motivations. It's something that we respect.
"I think Ade was in full control of his emotions and in a north London derby you want players to challenge for balls, you want them to win second balls, you want them to be strong, to be brave.
"That's exactly what they did from the first minute to the last."
Indeed, despite the thrashing, Villas-Boas was adamant Spurs had not been outplayed.
"We were very, very good from the first minute to the last, with 11 men and with 10 men," he added after what was his side's fourth league defeat in five matches.
"The feeling of the result is indifferent for us when we played so well and we took the risk in the second half to be so bold and play with three at the back. Men against men.
"Yes, we suffered but there were chances that, had we converted and brought the score to only a one-goal difference, I think it could've gone our way."
He added: "We felt in the dressing room at half-time that if we could bring the result to that kind of margin, the stadium wasn't with the team, there was nervousness around, and we felt that we could have a chance.
"We are proud of what we have done from the beginning of the game."
Villas-Boas bristled at criticism of his side's defending, saying: "And our chances? Our chances at the back? They were brilliant at the back?
"Our chances against them, they don't count?"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could afford to make light of Villas-Boas' claims after watching his side leapfrog Spurs in the table into sixth place.
"Look, if our opponents are in control from the first to the last minute and we win 5-2, I don't mind too much," he said. "We have won games with 10 men, and lost games with 10 men."
Arsenal swept into a 3-1 lead before half-time through Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, and the outstanding Santi Cazorla made it 4-1 before Gareth Bale pulled a goal back.
Theo Walcott then completed the rout as the Gunners took full advantage of Adebayor's moment of madness.
"It changed certainly the game because Adebayor had a good start and was lively," Wenger said. "But what do I make of it? It's not rose, it's not yellow, it's red."
Asked about his experience of managing Adebayor, Wenger added: "He's not especially hard to manage. He did control his reaction.
"Sometimes players have this kind of reaction when they are frustrated but this was not the case. He was flying. I thought he had a great start."
Asked about Walcott's contract saga, Wenger said: "We haven't found an agreement yet but we will continue.
"He certainly doesn't play like someone who wants to go. And I don't behave like somebody who wants him to go."
Asked if he would make Walcott an exception to the club's wage structure, Wenger added: "We have 25 exceptions in our squad. We go always to the maximum we can afford."