Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood believes White Hart Lane hosted this season’s Premier League champions in Manchester City as his side succumbed to a chastening 5-1 defeat.

City took the lead on 14 minutes through Sergio Aguero and created a host of chances to score more before Dawson’s leveller was disallowed before the break for offside.

Danny Rose was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity when he brought down Edin Dzeko inside the box five minutes into the second half, and Yaya Toure dispatched the spot kick.

Referee Andre Marriner initially looked to give a corner following the challenge but pointed to the spot and produced the red card after consulting with his linesman.

Replays also suggested Rose got the ball as well as his man but the damage was done and Dzeko, Jovetic and Kompany all netted to make Etienne Capoue’s bundled goal at 3-0 a scant consolation.

On the decisive penalty and red card, Sherwood said: “I felt Andre got it right initially when he called it as a corner. Unfortunately for us the linesman decided Andre got it wrong and he’s given a penalty there. It was obviously a last ditch tackle to lunge in there a bit but he had to do that because Dzeko was baring down on goal and he clearly wins the ball.

“It made a difference to the score line but they were excellent, you have to hold your hands up. Even before the second, they worked us around the pitch and they come at you from all angles – they’re the best team in the league by a country mile.

“In my opinion this is the champions of the league and unfortunately for everyone they play they don’t just score one and shut up shop, they keep coming at you, and if anyone is going to win the league you want this team to win it because they entertain, they push on. It’s not great for an opposition manager, believe me, they put you to the sword, but that’s how football should be played in my opinion.”

Spurs showed character to fight back from Aguero’s early goal and Sherwood said there was an element of ‘what might have been’ had Dawson’s marginal offside goal been given Spurs’ way towards the end of the first half.

On his team, he said: “They’re obviously disappointed. I think they recognise this is a top side. Who knows what would have happened if the disallowed goal was given. I think it was a great decision, I think Michael was offside once Ade touches it, but you’ve seen those given and unfortunately it didn’t quite go for us today.

“We might have got our tails up. The fans were fantastic for us tonight – it felt like it was one of those nights where it might be an Inter Milan all over again or when I played, the 5-1 against Chelsea, it was that sort of atmosphere and they really stuck with the team and it was disappointing we couldn’t give them something to cheer about.”

Asked if he felt pressure to sit back against teams of City’s quality, he added: “I’ve seen other teams put everyone behind the ball and still get hammered. It’s not the way I want to go and do it, especially with the players we’ve got.  A club like Tottenham should not ever go with that mentality in my opinion.”