Tottenham Hotspur defeated their arch-rivals Arsenal 2-0 today in the last-ever North London Derby at White Hart Lane, but there was more at stake today than just finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 22 seasons. Spurs still need Chelsea to drop points in order to catch them in their pursuit of their first top flight title since 1961.
Chelsea defeated Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park in what was considered their hardest remaining fixture. After Tottenham’s win, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked by the press about whether the Chelsea result took the shine off the dramatic win in any way, and whether he was disappointed by the Blues not dropping points.
“Disappointed about what? About Chelsea? After 2-0 against Arsenal here? Do you believe that we are disappointed? They know and they need to be proud about their performance. They now need to rest and don't think too much and enjoy tonight and tomorrow they have a day off.
“Then Tuesday it's time to start to be focused again to be ready to play again on Friday. Of course I am disappointed because it was a great opportunity to reduce the gap. We are four behind with four games to play. All is possible in football. We'll see what happens next week.
“Now it's a moment to feel proud, feel happy, because I think the last derby against Arsenal here and all that means to the fans, for everyone who loves Tottenham it was a fantastic afternoon. Yes, of course I'm disappointed that we did not reduce the gap with Chelsea but so proud of the performance of the team and behaviour of our supporters.”
It’s kind of a dumb question to ask after Spurs just secured such an important result, but you can understand the impulse behind it. Frankly, I’m sure once the players are home after the match today and have time to reflect they may be a little sad that Everton couldn’t nick a result against Chelsea.
But that is, and probably should be, secondary to today’s huge win. This match, the last NLD in the history of Spurs’ historic stadium, has such important significance for this team and for its long-suffering fanbase. If you’d ask the players, I think they’d all agree that there isn’t a whole lot that could diminish their happiness.