Mourinho congratulates Arteta for ‘tough match’ as Tottenham beat Arsenal in derby


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Tottenham Hotspur boss, Jose MourinhoArsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Tottenham Hotspur boss, Jose Mourinho

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said Arsenal made it difficult for his side as they won 2-0 in the north London derby on Sunday, and congratulated Gunners counterpart Mikel Arteta after the match.

Spurs took the lead just 13 minutes into the Premier League clash when Son Heung-min smashed home from outside the box.

Harry Kane doubled his side’s lead when he ran onto a pass from Son and put it past Bernd Leno in first-half stoppage time.

The win sees Tottenham return to the top of the table and Mourinho says it was no easy feat for his team.

“It was a big game in every sense, not just because it was Tottenham-Arsenal,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“I want to give words, congratulations to Mikel Arteta because he gave us a very difficult game. Tactically they were very good, very organized. They gave us problems, problems we were able to resolve. They have good tactical courage and incredible spirit. They are a good team and he is a good coach.

“We were reading the game and making the changes to win it because 2-0 was in our hands against a great and difficult opponent but my boys did well today.

“I am very happy with the result and the performance, but of course I want the team in the second half to play in a different way. In reality, you don’t always do what you want to do because your opponent forces you in a different direction.

“You are winning 2-0, why would you expose your defensive block if you don’t have to? It was a very difficult game.

“I can imagine tomorrow the headlines will be about them not being in a good position in the table, but I believe with these players and Mikel it will be Arsenal vs Tottenham again.”

Tottenham have taken seven points from their last three matches in the league, beating Manchester City and drawing with Chelsea in the build-up to Sunday’s derby.

“We grew up. I can imagine lots of people can imagine three matches in a row – against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal – would be a moment for us to drop points and go back to ‘normality’ but we didn’t go back to ‘normality’. We are there,” Mourinho added.

“I believe one more week at the top of the table unless Liverpool wins by many [against Wolves].”

While Son and Kane netted the crucial goals, Mourinho praised his star attackers for the work they do outside of the box, too.

“Harry Kane clearing balls in the box, Sonny for the first 60 minutes as a winger and then a second striker – it is not just about scoring goals and being world-class players,” he said.

“It is about being great guys and doing your best for the team.”

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Mourinho congratulates Arteta for ‘tough match’ as Tottenham beat Arsenal in derby