Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho played down the import of winning the North London Derby prior to the game.
Toby Alderweireld would do no such thing after Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
“It’s massive for us,” Alderweireld said. “We did everything that we could. We fought and got a little bit of luck as well to get three points today. … We wanted to prove some points because in the press there’s a lot of negativity in the team. Today we showed that we have character and really want it.”
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Alderweireld admitted it’s important to finish above the Gunners.
“It’s massive, not only for the team, for our confidence to get the momentum going but especially for the fans. They can’t watch us in real life. Everybody wants to be here and I think this is a present for them on Sunday.”
Mourinho, for his part, said the game was tighter than he’d like but he enjoyed matching wits with Mikel Arteta.
“The game was close,” he said. “I think the game was more tactical. Mikel found a way for them to be stable and improve. They are improving. I think we did it very well because how many times Tierney and Bellerin reached the last third and how well they were controlled. We were dominant at that level.”
“We found our chances and great experience. Really hot, nobody thought about it but Arsenal had 48 hours more than us, so it was hard but from that heart, this effort, this battle, 2-1, zero problems, everything under control. We are happy because we made the fans happy and we are still in the fight to be in a Europa League position. Chelsea and Liverpool didn’t help us at all but this is about us. We must get the points and we lost some important points.”
Spurs have Newcastle, Leicester, and Palace left on the docket to go with a 2-point lead on Arsenal, who face Liverpool, Villa, and Watford. Burnley is level on Arsenal with 50 points, while Sheffield United is two clear of Spurs in seventh with 54.
🗣 "It's massive"
Toby Alderweireld on finishing above Arsenal pic.twitter.com/pojaFgiNyJ
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 12, 2020