Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has leapt to the defence of his team after they were lucky to escape with a point in the 1-1 draw with North London rivals Arsenal.
A controversial Harry Kane penalty, allied to a Hugo Lloris save from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late spot-kick, meant that Spurs maintained a four-point lead over the old enemy in the Premier League table.
And while to most onlookers it seemed that the home side were far from their best at Wembley on Saturday lunchtime, Pochettino was quick to state his belief that they were the stronger of the two.
“If we assess the game I think we were better than Arsenal in all the aspects,” the Argentine told his post-match press conference, as reported by Sky Sports.
“It was a fantastic game, exciting game with great atmosphere with two teams that wanted to play and win the game,” he continued.
“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.”
Aaron Ramsey’s 16th-minute effort, rounding Lloris to slot home, looked as if it would be decisive as Tottenham struggled to break down a resilient Gunners defence.
However, after Kane was barged in the back by Shkodran Mustafi, he got up to slide in the resulting penalty, despite having been offside as the original cross was whipped into the box.
Aubameyang fluffed the chance to win the game as the clock ticked past 90 minutes, foiled by Lloris with his original penalty and then by a heroic Jan Vertonghen block in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
There was still time for a very late dismissal, with substitute Lucas Torreira shown a straight red card for a mistimed tackle on Tottenham’s Danny Rose.
Overall, Spurs lacked imagination and looked vulnerable at the back throughout the contest, with Alexandre Lacazette also guilty of failing to punish them with presentable chances in each half.
Although it’s understandable that Pochettino will not want to publicly criticise his players, his comments would certainly have raised eyebrows after such a sub-par display.