Once again the most significant talking point from a Spurs game is their lack of goals and, moreover, their seeming inability to create clear-cut chances.

And fair enough, it is obviously the main shortcoming the team has. But actually, there is very little by way of legitimate criticism to direct at Tottenham and Andre Villas-Boas at the moment.

It's easy and trendy to scatter-gun bullets of blame at the manager's tactics, but it would be more constructive to take a step back and look at where Spurs are, firstly. They're joint-second in the league, occupying the Champions League spot they desire, with more points than they had at this stage last year or indeed at this stage in any season since the Premier League began.

They have also kept the most clean sheets of any team in the division and only Southampton have conceded fewer goals. Villas-Boas has exorcised a defensive demon that cursed Tottenham longer than anyone cares to remember and for that he must be highly commended.

Tottenham also looked a class above Everton despite the 0-0 scoreline - a team they came unstuck against last season and that have exceeded expectations under Roberto Martinez so far.

Yet Villas-Boas is being criticised for over-cautiousness. Why Spurs don't score more goals is a fair question and supporters inevitably want to see them annihilate any team outside the top-10. But BBC Sport pundit Robbie Savage went as far as to say "opening Everton up was never Villas-Boas's intention" and that their over-cautiousness means they cannot win the title.

Savage clearly has no idea that possession football is the first form of defence and that the best title-winning sides have played this way. Would it be an avant-garde way of explaining Tottenham's tactics to pick apart Robbie's misguided analysis? Or would it be excessively harsh? There's only one way to find out.

Firstly, Savage believes that, based on Villas-Boas's team selection and tactical set-up, Tottenham didn't try hard enough to win the game. Now this, of course, is an utterly ludicrous suggestion that would have Villas-Boas spitting out his coffee in disbelief.

Leading sports psychologists such as Dan Abrahams have pointed out that little or nothing is needed to motivate a player to “try hard”. If there is not enough personal motivation, given that a player's entire life is geared towards those 90 minutes on the pitch, then he doesn't get anywhere near the team. It would take a seriously bad manager – a dog or a cat perhaps – not to notice a player isn't motivated to win and then play him anyway.

Moreover, 40% of Tottenham's total possession was spent in the attacking third of the field. In contrast, 18% of it was spent in the defensive third. They made 149 passes in the attacking third and any one with two eyes could see they were constantly searching for a way to goal, especially in a first half they dominated.

The real problem was that only 11 out of 106 successful passes in the final third resulted in a chance on goal, with only three of those passes making it into the 18-yard box. What this suggests is either a lack clever movement into the area or that players are reluctant to make the required passes through fear of losing possession. Given that Tottenham have such a gleaming defensive record and more often than not win the ball back very quickly, the latter is doubtful. It's a movement problem, and there are a number of culprits.

New signing Roberto Soldado was often the only man moving within the penalty area. This is where he is at his best, and where he scored most of his goals for Valencia. It is clear that Tottenham's primary attacking tactic is to have him at the head of chances but at the moment he is being tracked and marked into an isolated existence, and because of this Soldado touched the ball just twice inside the penalty area in the entire game.

One or more of Tottenham's attacking quintet – Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby or Paulinho has to make more runs into the penalty area. As a box-to-box, marauding midfielder, the role of Paulinho (whom Savage seems to think is a holding midfield player) is designed for this, and both his preceding reputation and the winning goal at Cardiff City are proof enough. 

As the primary playmaker, Holtby (whom Savage believes was picked for his defensive qualities and not because he has been more effective and influential recently than Christian Eriksen) is supposed to probe with passes into the area, so that rules him out.  

That leaves Townsend and Lennon, and this is where there is a comparison to be drawn with David Silva and Samir Nasri who play in the equivalent positions for Manchester City. The Spurs duo are naturally comfortable picking the ball up in wide areas and dribbling towards goal, where as Nasri and Silva are expert passers who constantly move the ball on and then find new positions. This is what Tottenham need Townsend and Lennon, or whoever are the two wider supporting forwards, to do more of.

Tottenham have shifted from a naturally expert counter-attacking team to one that dominates possession, patiently, both home and away. The great teams of recent years, such as Barcelona and Manchester United, have all played this way and this was a change that had to happen if they hope to become a top team. But in order to be as clever and precise as City can be, it is going to take practice, familiarity and confidence in each other.

This season remains an incredibly exciting one for Tottenham and the fact they sit where they do in the league without a wealth of goals is actually a scary thought. Lord help the league when they start carving teams open.