North London derby reaction: Conte, Arteta assess top-four race

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Tottenham Hotspur are now just one point behind Arsenal in the top-four race after they hammered their north London rivals 3-0 on Thursday, leaving Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta’s sides with everything to play for in the final two games of the season.

[ MORE: Leeds 2-1 Norwich recap & highlights ]

Below is live reaction from north London after Tottenham vs Arsenal, leaving Antonio Conte, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min happy but focused on the work still to be done. Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta insisted he “cannot say what [he thinks]” for fear of “being suspended for six months”…


Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, on the atmosphere for this important game…

“Tonight was very difficult, because when you must win it is never easy. I know the pressure that is on the shoulders of the players and on my shoulders. To play in this way, with this intensity and this passion, makes me very happy. I have to thank my players and the fans because the atmosphere was amazing. They pushed us from the start until the end. Now I ask our fans to do the same on Sunday, because we have another must-win game against Burnley. We are playing against a team trying to avoid relegation.”

“Our fans, they are going to play an important role on Sunday. We need to go all together. We are very close to reaching an important target for us. There are no easy games for us.”

Antonio Conte, on Mikel Arteta’s assertion that the referee “destroyed such a beautiful game”…

Antonio Conte, on enjoying the win and remaining focused…

“A lot of people tell me that Tottenham is not good to live with the pressure, but I think to become an important team you have to live with the right pressure, to bring the pressure and become positive. We have two games to go. Everything is open. There are no easy games in England.

“The confidence has to come from the work we are doing every day. For sure, to win an important game against Arsenal, the importance of the game to our fans, has to give us confidence.

“When you win, the confidence starts to increase, but at the same time you have to not become presumptuous. This is the danger. I will try to keep the situation under control and push my players in the right way.”

“We need to recover very well, because we will play on Sunday against a team that has beaten us. I was very clear with my players — to enjoy and celebrate in the right way, but at the same time think about Sunday as otherwise this win will not be important.”

Antonio Conte, on subbing Son Heung-min as he chases the Golden Boot…

“I know Son wanted to continue to play, but I had to think not only about this game but to have fresh players. They spent a lot of energy. I made the decision to give them a bit of rest. He promised me on Sunday he will go to try to score.”


Tottenham forward Harry Kane, on winning the north London derby…

“Proud of the boys, it was a big night. If they won, they would have secured the Champions League, so there was pressure on us in front of our home fans, but we dealt with it well. We started the game on the front foot, created the chances and then controlled it really well. Delighted to win. Whenever you win a derby, it’s always nice.

“There are two more games to go, so obviously we need to focus on those now with a quick turnaround, but a really special night.”

Harry Kane, on the Premier League top-four race…

“We can only control our games. We’ve done our job here tonight, and we play this Sunday. If we can get a good result, it puts the pressure on them. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we know tonight was important and it was a special night, but the ultimate goal is to get fourth place and we have some work to do.”

Harry Kane, on “the best atmosphere in the [new] stadium so far”…

“I think so. I think you could really feel the anticipation building up to the game and on the way into the stadium on the [bus]. We knew we had to deliver. Obviously we got the bragging rights, but there’s still two games to go. The most important things is the Champions League. We put the pressure on them, but we need to focus on ourselves.”


Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, on Rob Holding being sent off for fouls against him…

“I was running into the space but he broke the run and whether the ball is coming or not it was a dangerous challenge for me. It was a clear foul for me.”


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, on the north London derby result…

“If I say what I think, I’m suspended six months, so I cannot say. I am allowed to give my interpretation of what happened in the game, but I don’t know how to lie and I don’t like lying, so I prefer not to say what I think.”

[Follow-up question: From the way you say that, I suspect that you’re unhappy about some decisions that went against you, would that be correct?]

“I cannot say what I think. I will be suspended.”

[Are you unhappy with your players?]

“With my players? No. I am so proud of my players.”

Mikel Arteta, when asked to comment on the referee’s decisions…

“Have the referee come in front of the camera and explain his decisions. I make mine. That’s his decisions. It’s a shame, because such a beautiful game was destroyed today.”

Mikel Arteta, on holding off Tottenham to finish 4th…

“We have two games to play, each of us, and it’s in our hands. We have to do our job.”