The argument that Tottenham could not beat Newcastle on Sunday because of the single-handed heroics of Tim Krul is a cop-out.

It would be an excuse for Andre Villas-Boas to use it and it is a weak, lazy subject on which to base a match report. Superficially it appears that Krul is the reason Spurs were unable to score because the first thing you see is a goalkeeper making saves. Take a closer look at replays and highlights and it is clear that all of Tottenham's 14 attempts on target were unsuccessful because of poor finishing.

Not a single one of Krul's saves during Newcastle's unlikely victory should be deemed outstanding. Perhaps three or four of them were good, but the rest were routine. Newcastle got away with murder.

There seems to be a worrying lack of thinking and focus on what the remit is for an excellent save from a goalkeeper. But this can be easily solved by answering one simple question every time a save is made: If the goalkeeper had let that in, would he have made a mistake?

Of course, it is a symptom of the increasingly sensationalist nature of modern football to jazz-up the mundane. 'Keeper single-handedly steals three points at Lane' sounds more enthralling than 'Spurs lack conviction in front of goal', doesn't it? But it's unforgivable when all it takes is to watch a show reel of Krul's saves and ask the question of whether he ought to have saved it each time.

Spurs' problem in front of goal remains a psychological one. The team has depleted reserves of confidence in these situations, especially at home, for a variety of reasons. Chief of these is that their lack of goals this season has become a theme, a trend, and one that weighs heavier on the minds of players the longer it goes on for.

But at home, specifically, and Villas-Boas spoke of this after the previous unexpected home defeat to West Ham, they are made all the more nervous by 35,000-plus expecting supporters. Say what you want about highly-paid professionals that should be too focused to be distracted, but the sense of that argument is far outweighed by the fact players are human beings. Cheers and jeers have equal capabilities.

This self-doubt was stark against Newcastle, especially when Younes Kaboul, Christian Eriksen and Paulinho were handed close-range chances to score in the second half. All three fired timid efforts straight at the body of Krul and they were opportunities in which they had the whole goal to aim for, and in the cases Eriksen and Paulinho they had enough time to pick their spot away from Krul's reach.

Any striker will testify that if you are not completely calm and composed in your mind when in front of goal, your body does not respond and function properly. It only takes a flicker of doubt in one's mind – a quick voice that says: “you could miss here” - and the nightmare comes true. When this mindset is more frequent than one of total positivity, as is seemingly the case with Tottenham's attacking players, then they will always be more likely to miss than score.

Villas-Boas has persisted with Roberto Soldado because dropping him would be a significant statement of doubt in his new striker, and it would interrupt the gradual progression he is making. Villas-Boas faces a difficult decision, however, because the progression of Soldado and other players is so gradual it is starting to cost them valuable points.

Therefore, there is now an overwhelming argument for the replacement of Soldado with the one man in Tottenham's squad who has almost always been totally calm, focused and prolific in front of goal: Jermain Defoe. While the new additions to the squad continue to worry about their abilities to perform in a new division, Defoe would not be weighed down by the same cerebral constraints.

Villas-Boas needs to draw on the naturally high levels of self-confidence Defoe has always had. If he continues to deliberate over team selection then this self-doubt could cost Tottenham too many points to finish in the top-four.