LONDON — The north London derby ended in a dramatic 1-1 draw, but Mauricio Pochettino didn’t believe his team deserved anything other than a victory.
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Speaking to reporters after the game, Pochettino believed his side were superior to Arsenal “in all aspects” and should have taken the victory.
“If we assess the game I think we were better than Arsenal in all the aspects,” Pochettino said. “It was a fantastic game, exciting game with great atmosphere with two teams that wanted to play and win the game. It’s tough to play Arsenal, conceding after 15 minutes was tough for us. But I am so happy with the character and personality that we played with. Our performance was not great, but it was really good to draw and maybe deserve to win. After two defeats it was important today to start to build our positive run.”
Pochettino is maybe heaping a little too much praise on his team here.
In the first half they really struggled to control Arsenal’s counter attacks as Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan wrecked havoc supporting Alexandre Lacazette. There’s no doubt Spurs were the better team in the second half, so from a simplistic standpoint a draw was a fair result in this game.
As for the controversy which dominated the game, Pochettino has previously revealed his disdain towards VAR but seemed less critical of the technology on Saturday.
When asked about whether Kane should have been awarded a penalty kick (replays show he was clearly offside when the cross came in) and if Aubameyang’s missed PK should have been retaken due to encroachment, his answer was clear.
“Football was never fair and it is never going to be fair,” Pochettino said.
Although he argues that Spurs should have won the game, they are showing signs of fatigue and mental mistakes which are costing them dear at a pivotal stage of the season.
With Tottenham in the title race one week ago, they are now in a real battle to finish in the top four as Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United have made up considerable ground amid Spurs’ two defeats and a draw in the past seven days.
Let’s see if Pochettino’s positivity has the desired impact and gives his players a boost for the tough games ahead.