José Mourinho celebrated his first victory in the North London derby when the Tottenham boss roared: “It came from the hearts of my players.”
A 2-1 success at home against Arsenal came thanks to goals from Son Heung-min and Toby Alderweireld, the latter leading an 81-minute winner.
Spurs boss Mourinho was delighted that his team was first, having been in action Thursday when they drew at Bournemouth, two days after Arsenal had played against Leicester City.
“[We had] Great spirit, “Mourinho told Sky Sports.” It was very hot, I think, during the game. Nobody thought about it, not even myself, but Arsenal had 48 hours more than us to rest, so it was difficult.
“But I think it came from their hearts, this effort, this battle, and even in the last minutes of the game after 2-1 [we had] zero problems, everything under control.
“We are happy because we made the fans happy. We are happy because we are still fighting for a place in the Europa League. “
Mourinho could still stop taking his team to next season’s European competitions. It was a blow to the Spurs when rivals Burnley and Sheffield United collected points from Saturday’s games against Liverpool and Chelsea, while the Wolves defeated Everton at the start of Sunday.
There are only three games left for Tottenham, and they may need nine points from those matches against Newcastle United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
“I know Chelsea and Liverpool didn’t help us at all, but this is about us,” said Mourinho. “We must make the points and we lost some important points, but now we have nine to fight for.”
For Arsenal, the situation with respect to Europe is quite grim, given that they are two points worse than the Spurs with the games running out.
Alderweireld described the victory as “massive for us,” dedicating it to the absent Spurs supporters.
“It is a gift for them, an incredible Sunday,” he said.
A closed-door derby gave the accessory some flavor, but Alderweireld insisted that the Spurs were ready for the occasion from the first minute.
“We knew it would be difficult without fans,” said the defender. “It would be a totally different atmosphere if the fans were here, but I think we did everything we could.”
“I think we want to prove some points because there has been a lot of negativity in the press about the team. I think today we showed that we have character and we really wanted it. ”