'Something I'll remember as I go through life' - Davies, Alderweireld, Wanyama and others react to derby triumph
01 May 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama spoke about how they felt privileged to be part of the winning side in the last north London derby at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Second-half goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane – the latter from the penalty spot – gave us a 2-0 victory over Arsenal as we once again kept up the pace with leaders Chelsea, who won at Everton earlier in the day.
Understandably, the lads were in jubilant mood after the game. Here’s what they said to us…
Feelings about the match
“I understand the enormity of it and it’s such a big game but today with the work we put in and the effort we put into the game, I thought we thoroughly deserved to come away with the win. It’s huge. To play in the last derby at White Hart Lane is something that I’ll always remember as I go through life. To win it just makes it that little bit more special.”
On the wait for the opening goal
“It’s all about being patient. It’s easy to get ahead of yourselves, perhaps push a few too many men forward and get caught on the counter but today I thought we were good. Maybe once or twice they had a sniff of a counter-attack but the rest of the time I thought we were excellent in being organised when we had the ball. When we were going forward, we were always organised at the back.”
On the clean sheet
“As the back four, back five, back six, even the boys who didn’t play today, we’ve all got such a good sense of pride about keeping clean sheets and today again was testament to that. They didn’t really have any clear-cut chances and that comes down to hard work more than anything.”
On the team’s knack for scoring quickfire goals
“I think it’s just our mentality. It’s easy to sit back when you have that lead but sometimes the best form of defence is attack. We can push teams and sometimes they got sloppy trying to go for that equaliser.”
On Harry Kane’s penalty
“If you want anybody standing over the ball, there wouldn’t be many you’d pick ahead of him and I think, again, especially as a back four, when you’ve got a striker who can put goals away like that, it takes a lot of pressure off us.”
Is this one of the biggest and most intense games you’ve been involved in?
“Yes, of course. It’s the last north London derby at the Lane so we knew the pressure was there to win and I think from minute one we put all our desire on the pitch. We had more quality than them, we showed that and I think 2-0 is not even enough – we could have scored a lot more but I’m very happy that we got the three points in the last north London derby here.”
On the task of defending against Giroud, Sanchez and Ozil
“Yes, then they bring Welbeck and Walcott on. They have quality up front but I think defensively we were fantastic, all the lads were playing at a high level and I think we didn’t give them a lot. We created a lot of chances so it was a wonderful game for us.”
On Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech
“I think he had one of the best games because we could have scored a lot more. He made great saves from my header, from Jan Vertonghen’s shot so I’m very happy with the win. Of course I’m very proud to be part of a historic moment. I’m very happy that we won so everybody can go home very happy and with a good memory in their mind.”
What does it mean to you to be involved in this game?
“To me it means a lot because we keep on pushing as well. Today was an important game, the last derby here and so it was important for us to get a win, to continue with these good results and keep the pressure going because you never know – this is football. We keep on believing until the end. I think we did well. The second half was much better, the first half a little bit difficult but today we created a lot and we deserved the win.”
On the midfield battle
“Today we showed who was the better team and who was the fitter team. We are fit, we knew we would wear them out come the second half, we kept on pushing them and we smelled some good opportunities. We knew that if we kept on pushing them like that, we would have a good performance and we did by the end of the game.”
On Mousa Dembele’s absence from the starting line-up
“Mousa is a good player. I think they are lucky that Mousa was not there because if Mousa was there it would be different – it could have been even better! But congratulations to everyone today for putting on a good performance and showing that we can fight and show good spirit.”
What was said at the break?
“We were very calm at half-time. We said ‘continue the way we’re playing and we’ll score’. We were so strong and confident and especially with what we’ve shown at the Lane, we knew it was coming. We scored twice in three minutes and we knew the game was over. We’re so confident. Chelsea won before we went out but that didn’t put any stress on us. We did the job and we all had a very good game today.”
On Dele and Harry’s goals
“Those two, eh? They are having such a great season and I’m very proud of them. Dele has 17 now (in the Premier League) and Harry 21. It’s so impressive and Harry was out for a couple of months as well. It was a good team performance and they were clinical.”
How do you feel after that?
“It was unbelievable, a crazy atmosphere and to win the last derby at White Hart Lane was incredible. We owe a lot to the fans again, they were unbelievable from the start, kept us going and that was important. There weren’t too many tactics going into today, it was all about belief, fight and hunger and I think we dominated on that front.”
On the magnitude of the contest
“It’s a massive game and there is no hiding how big it is. The north London derby is an incredible game, one of the games you want to be a part of as a player and especially to be on the winning side is an unbelievable feeling. It was a strong performance by the team.”
On scoring his first north London derby goal
“Yes, finally! I’m going to get a bit of stick from the lads after that header, I don’t know how I missed to be honest. I was happy to make up for it and more importantly to win the game.”
Did the header play on your mind?
“For a few minutes, yes. I was a bit gobsmacked to be honest. Like I said, I was more than happy to make up for it with the goal and the team win.”
Talk us through your goal…
“It was a bit of anticipation. Chris (Eriksen) cut inside and I went around the outside hoping if he hit the target, it might ricochet around there, so I got myself in position and thankfully I got the goal. More importantly, it was a solid performance and a good win, not just for the players, but for the fans as well.”
On Harry Kane’s penalty
“I don’t want to jinx him but I almost didn’t bother following in, although you have to, of course! He’s an incredible player and he deserves a lot of credit. It was a great finish again.”
On the overall performance
“From the start, when you dominate a game like that, it’s just important to get the goal. I missed my chance, Chris had a half-chance and it was a dominant performance from us and a strong win. It’s important we enjoy it but also important we get ready for the next game as well.”
On the occasion
“It’s amazing. It was an emotional day even before the game – the build-up, knowing it was the last north London derby at the Lane and we wanted to send the fans home happy. We wanted to keep the pressure on Chelsea and wanted to make sure we’re getting closer to securing second at least. All in all, an amazing day.”
What are your post-match feelings?
“I’m buzzing, a bit of relief. (You’re) always nervous before the big games so to go out and perform how we did on the big stage was incredible. We sent the fans home happy, they have the bragging rights for the time being anyway and it’s important for us – we want to finish as high in the league as we can. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and hope Chelsea drop points. If not, we’ve got to make sure we secure that second place.”