Jose Mourinho led Tottenham to a derbyvictory over Arsenal, then urged his teamto finish the season with three morewins.
Jose Mourinho celebrated his first north London derby victory as the Tottenham boss roared: “It came from my players’ hearts.”
A 2-1 home success against Arsenal came thanks to goals from Son Heung-min and Toby Alderweireld, the latter heading an 81st-minute winner.
Spurs boss Mourinho was thrilled his team came out on top, having been in action as recently as Thursday when they drew at Bournemouth, two days after Arsenal had played against Leicester City.
“[We had] great spirit,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “It was really hot, I think, during the game. Nobody thought about it, even myself I didn’t, but Arsenal had 48 hours more than us to rest so it was hard.
“But I think it came from their hearts, this effort, this battle, and even in the last minutes of the game after 2-1 [we had] zero problems, everything under control.
“We are happy because we made the fans happy. We are happy because we are still in the fight for a Europa League position.”
Mourinho could still fail to take his team into next season’s European competitions. It came as a blow to Spurs when rivals Burnley and Sheffield United picked up points from Saturday’s games against Liverpool and Chelsea, while Wolves defeated Everton in Sunday’s early kick-off.
Just three games remain for Tottenham, and they may need nine points from those fixtures against Newcastle United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
“I know that Chelsea and Liverpool didn’t help us at all, but this is about us,” Mourinho said. “We must do the points and we lost some important points, but now we have nine to fight for.”
For Arsenal the situation regarding Europe is rather more bleak, given they are two points worse off than Spurs with games running out.
Alderweireld described the win as “massive for us”, dedicating it to the absent Spurs supporters.
“It’s a present for them, an unbelievable Sunday,” he said.
A behind-closed-doors derby took some spice out of the fixture, but Alderweireld insisted Spurs were up for the occasion from the first minute.
“We knew it would be difficult without fans,” the defender said. “It would be a totally different atmosphere if the fans were here, but I think we did everything we could.
“I think we want to prove some points because in the press there has been a lot of negativity about the team. I think today we showed we have character and really wanted it.”