Tue, May 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Pressure is all on Chelsea, Spurs’ Vertonghen says

AFP, LONDON

Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli, bottom right, scores against Arsenal in their Premier League match at White Hart Lane in London on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen on Sunday said the pressure is all on English Premier League leaders Chelsea after his side kept their title hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Arsenal.

A goal by Dele Alli and a penalty from leading scorer Harry Kane kept the gap between Spurs and Chelsea to four points with four matches remaining.

“The pressure is on Chelsea. One loss [for them] and a win for us and the gap will just be a point,” Vertonghen told Sky Sports.

Vertonghen, who led the defense superbly alongside compatriot Toby Alderweireld, said Spurs had been hungrier for victory, which also ensured they will finish above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years.

“It was a massive game in so many different ways,” he said. “We showed from the start we wanted to win more than them and that we want to stay in the title race. It was a great performance throughout the team, from Hugo [Lloris] in goal to Harry [Kane].”

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said it had been a “fantastic afternoon.”

“To win against Arsenal in the last derby at White Hart Lane, it was emotional for everyone,” said the 45-year-old Argentine, whose team faded in pursuit of Leicester City in last season’s title race. “Now we can say that we are more mature. Today was another chance to see the team learning and improving. It is so important now to try and win trophies, that is our aim. I think still we are in the race.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dismissed the significance of Spurs finishing above his side in the table.

“Mathematically it has to happen once,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports. “We are not happy with it, but we don’t compare ourselves to Spurs, we compare ourselves to where we want to be.”

Kane for his part was ecstatic at the result.

“Incredible,” Kane told Sky Sports. “We obviously wanted to finish the last north London derby here on a high note and we did that. We worked hard, we created the better chances, what a day. The fans having bragging rights is just an added bonus.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech was devastated and said the defeat could have a major impact on the side’s hopes of making the UEFA Champions League next season.

“I am very disappointed. This is not the game to lose,” the Czech said.

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