Toby Alderweireld says Arsenal stopped Spurs from attacking in north London derby

Tottenham lost 2-1 to Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates; Spurs’ cautious performance has drawn criticism; Toby Alderweireld: “We want to attack, we have the players to attack but sometimes it’s the opponent as well, so I think you have to credit Arsenal”

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld says Arsenal’s performance stopped Spurs from attacking in Sunday’s north London derby defeat but admitted they played better after going down to 10 men.

Tottenham’s approach at the Emirates Stadium has drawn criticism after they only registered one shot – Erik Lamela’s superb opening goal – in the first 70 minutes as Arsenal completely dominated proceedings.

The performance comes after Spurs boss Jose Mourinho dismissed claims earlier this month that his side were ‘a negative team’.

Alderweireld feels Arsenal’s display curbed Tottenham’s attack in the 2-1 defeat, although the Belgian believes Spurs did improve after Lamela’s sending off in the 76th minute.

He said: “If it was that easy I think everyone would play 100 per cent attacking football, so I think you have to give credit to them [Arsenal].

“In the games before we scored a lot of goals, played attacking football and pressed – that’s what we want to do.

“But sometimes because of the opponent or because of ourselves we don’t get to that stage we want.

“We want to attack, we have the players to attack but sometimes it’s the opponent as well.

“Of course we can improve, we know that. We can play a lot better. I think our best moments in the game were when we played with 10 men, so that says enough.

“I think we’re playing attacking football and we’re scoring a lot of goals, so we need to be consistent.

“We have to be back on the way we played before the Arsenal game and that’ll bring us success, for sure.”

Spurs pay price for negative mentality

The stirring attempt to conjure an equaliser after Erik Lamela’s sending off only damned what had come before. Why had Jose Mourinho’s side been so passive? What reason was there for such an insipid opening given that they had won five in a row coming in?

Mourinho has his methods, boasting a remarkable record against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. He had won his previous two against Mikel Arteta’s version too. Perhaps he and his players were too tempted by the template that had worked against top teams earlier in the season. But this was no Mourinho masterclass.

What will have hurt is that Spurs were able to cause so little problems of their own. This was not an Arsenal team to fear. The opportunity was there to impose themselves on the game.

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