We dominated the first half and should have wrapped it up by half-time but only had Robbie Keane's 16th minute goal to show for it. Darren Bent then hit the post in the second half before a late revival saw Radek Cerny forced into fine saves from Dave Kitson and Liam Rosenoir.
"The quality and possession Spurs had, they just passed it around and we didn't know our roles defensively," said Coppell. "After they scored we changed system and matched up their diamond shape.
"At half-time we got the chance to sit the players down and we were more structured in the second half.
"As the home team you want impose yourself and see how the opposition react but with their passing and movement - in different circumstances it would have been nice to watch.
"The players gave me their all and they worked so hard to stay in the game.
"Our desire drove us forward but we needed that bit of subtlety, that extra bit of quality in front of goal.
"It's up to us to try and win next week. We've got to get a result to give us a chance - it's up to us to deliver."
Steve Coppell admitted our football would have been 'nice to watch' if his Reading side weren't fighting for their lives.