Ange Postecoglou in icy exchange after Tottenham nightmare

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Ange Postecoglou was not in the mood for it as he faced the press following his Tottenham club’s nightmare derby loss to bitter rivals Arsenal.

The Australian manager admitted he was frustrated with his players as Spurs slumped to a second consecutive defeat that leaves the club’s quest to play in the Champions League hanging by a thread.

Arsenal’s tense 3-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw them retain their spot on the top of the table, surviving the nervous dying minutes as Tottenham launched a late comeback.

Mikel Arteta’s side stormed into a three-goal lead in the first half, before Tottenham scored two second half goals to make it a grandstand finish.

It was all set up by a 23-minute first half blitz that put Arsenal up 3-0.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s own goal put Arsenal ahead early before Bukayo Saka fired home and Kai Havertz headed in from virtually on the goalline to put Arsenal in command.

Cristian Romero’s goal gave Tottenham hope as he punished a wayward pass by Arsenal keeper David Raya, before Son Heung-min’s 87th-minute penalty, conceded by Declan Rice’s needless foul on Ben Davies, set up an anxious finale.

They survived by their finger tips to become the first Arsenal side to win league games at Tottenham in successive seasons since the late 1980s.

With fourth-placed Aston Villa seven points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, Postecoglou’s side must win their two games in hand to have any chance of staying in the race for Champions League qualification.

“Disappointing day for us. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted from a big game,” he said.

“There are a lot of moments in games when we don’t sense that you are giving good opposition time and space to do things. They are going to hurt you.

“I don’t think it’s about just set-pieces. We were very poor on those but there is a lot more to fix.”

He was much more terse with reporters during his press conference, which didn’t last long, Sky Sports reported.

“From our perspective, we allowed them way too easy access to our goal. They got there three or four times and scored three goals in the first half. It’s not acceptable at this level and we paid a price for it against a very good team,” he said.

“We showed resilience and fought back but we had to because there was no other choice. We couldn’t come out in the second half and not give our supporters a little bit of hope.

“We’re still not as resilient as we can be, particularly in those kinds of moments [in the first half] where there are transitions or set-pieces.”

Spurs captain Son Heung-min also admitted it was a “painful” day.

“We could have come back after 3-2. I think we had a good chance and a good opportunity,” he said.

“Especially in those games if you concede goals like that it’s difficult and painful.

“They were clinical and strong in the air. We had a lot of opportunities, hitting the post and having a disallowed goal.

“As I said before when you concede goals like this you have to be strong.”

Arteta, meanwhile, believes the Gunners are capable of winning the league, holding a one point lead over Manchester City, who have one game in hand.

Asked if Arsenal, chasing a first title since 2004, had shown they were equipped to be champions, Arteta said: “I think so. 100 per cent. I have seen that every day since the start of the season.

“What is ahead is beautiful. The margins are so small. Obviously we expect to have a real go.

“Don’t get carried away with yourself. We want to be better. There are margins for improvement. Go again against Bournemouth next weekend because it’s going to be really tough.”

Arteta was impressed with the way his players responded to their self-inflicted wounds and kept Tottenham at bay in the pressure-packed final minutes.

“When you are at the highest competitive level it is not always going to go for you. It is how you react. How much do they want it? It is part of the journey,” he said.

“3-0 up you are in control and dominating. Then something clicks in your brain, we made a mistake, they scored and it’s game on.

“I have a lot of faith in the players but I was doubting a bit in the last few minutes. We had to dig in.

“We have done it two years in a row here which is extremely difficult. We had to suffer in the second half. Great. It’s good learning. Something you can grab in the future.” Arteta singled out Havertz for praise after the often-criticised German played through illness to deliver an influential display, featuring a superb long pass that set up Saka’s goal prior to his own clinical header.

“He was sensational in every department today. He wasn’t 100 percent. He was ill before the match,” Arteta said.

— with AFP

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