Dele converted what turned out to be a crucial spot kick in the 32nd minute of our clash with Southampton, adding to Christian Eriksen’s opener as we went on to secure a 2-1 victory.
Stopping to share his views on the game with us alongside Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Vincent Janssen and Christian afterwards, Dele talked through the moments leading up to his penalty...
You looked like you really wanted to take that spot kick…
“Yes, I did! As soon as I realised H (Harry Kane) wasn’t on the pitch I saw it as an opportunity to get another goal so I grabbed the ball! We didn’t really speak before the game about who might take it so it was first come, first served. I was confident to take it and the boys let me have it but more importantly, we got the win.”
What was going through your mind as you stepped up?
“When a few of the boys want it, you have to make sure you put it away. I was confident. I know the goalkeeper well from England, he’s a great keeper but I knew he would go that way so it was important to put it in. Once I put the ball down I looked back up and realised ‘I thought the goal was much bigger’ but it was important I sent him the wrong way and I was happy to see it go in.”
Overall views on the match
“We made it difficult for ourselves in the last 10 minutes but it was another solid performance and I thought we deserved the win. It was important that we tried to score the third goal – maybe we should have cut through them a bit more and been a bit more clinical. It was a solid performance apart from their goal but sometimes those wins are more satisfying than a 4-0, when you’ve had to graft for the last 10 minutes. It was a great win for us.”
On the first half
“It was a solid performance, a great finish by Christian and then it was nice to get the penalty. It was a great performance in the first half and a very mature one in the second half.”
On managing games to secure the points
“We’re learning all the time in training and in games. There are so many things we need to learn as a team and build on and seeing out games is important, especially at this level when anything can happen and at 2-0 up, you’re not as confident as you should be. We saw it out, though, and it shows great maturity from the boys.”
On his total of 17 goals for the season in all competitions
“I’m happy to get up there, it’s something I wanted to improve on from last season where I had a lot of opportunities but wasn’t putting them away as much as I would have liked to. I’m just happy to get on the scoresheet but more importantly we got the win.”
On the match overall
“It was hard work, we had our backs against the wall at times and they made it very difficult for us. They were very direct and I think when they’ve got a player like Shane Long up top who works as hard as he does, it’s always going to make it difficult for our centre-halves. He did that today.”
On second half performance
“You get games like that where it’s going to be tough and I think in football you can’t be on top for 90 minutes in every single game. Today they had a bit more of a run than us in the second half but we dealt with most of the attacks that came our way and in the end we ground out the three points, which is exactly what we wanted.”
We’ve scored a lot of first-half goals lately…
“That’s vital – when we start the games we start well and we try to kill the games straight from the beginning. That way it makes things easier for us.”
On seeing the match out
“I think we were very well organised, we kept our discipline, defended well and kept good shape and I think that made it hard for them. I can’t recall them having any clear chances apart from the goal so that tells a lot. I don’t think the result fully shows what happened in the game. We seem to always have tough games against Southampton so we were just really happy to get over the line at the end. They made it tough for us, maybe we weren’t as good as we normally are, at home especially, but we got the win which was the most important thing.”
Views on the latter stages
“It was important to get the three points. When I came on I tried to keep the ball and tried to maybe score a goal. I tried, the goal didn’t happen but I think it was good to get some minutes. They are a good team so we had to keep hold of the three points and that’s what we did at the end.”
How important is it to be strong mentally to see games out?
“I think it’s very important and that’s what we did. Mentality is very important and we are a very strong team mentally – you can see that.”
On 10 consecutive Premier League home wins
“It’s good – we know we can do that. We are a very good team and we have to keep going. Our goal is to keep winning for the rest of the season.”
On his opener
“It was a very good goal and it came at a good moment to give us the confidence to keep going. We kept going, especially in the first half where we made it easier for ourselves. In the second half it was a different game. We showed we’ve matured from last season where we only conceded one goal, not two when we’re 2-0 up.”
Overall thoughts on the match
“We showed our ability on the ball and created enough chances to score some more goals, we maybe should have scored more in the first half to make it easier in the second half but it didn’t happen and that’s why the pressure came onto us at the end.”