We need to learn how to finish teams off - Kane
Tottenham 2 Arsenal 2
Published 07/03/2016 | 02:30
As Mauricio Pochettino stood in the corridor at White Hart Lane, he looked at his phone.
On it was a screenshot of the Goal Decision System which showed just how close the ball had been from crossing the line as David Ospina blocked a Harry Kane shot. "Incredible," the Tottenham Hotspur manager said.
Fine margins. That Kane effort was rightly ruled out by possibly less than an inch but he eventually got his goal with a brilliant curling shot around Arsenal's stand-in goalkeeper that Pochettino admitted was important for the striker.
"I think it's a good point to lift him and his confidence. It's important for the team that Harry has started to score again," said the Spurs boss.
It was Kane's first goal in five games - hardly a terrible drought - but, given the context of the occasion, a north London derby that Spurs could not afford to lose and Arsenal probably had to win, then the pressure was starting to increase and the scrutiny also. Were Kane and Spurs cracking?
In the end, Kane's 20th goal of the season was one of his best, with Pochettino able to be bullish.
"I have confidence in him," he said. "Harry has a strong mentality and is a very good player but to play with the mask isn't easy."
The mask - he will have to continue wearing it for three more weeks to protect his broken nose - was clearly causing him some discomfort.
Pochettino conceded that his young side had been taking a bit of a buffeting of late. Dele Alli, also, is evidently not fully fit, with a knee problem compounding the ankle injury that he suffered last weekend. Still, such is the 20-year-old's importance that Pochettino needed him against Arsenal and, although Alli was below his best, he still created Kane's goal, albeit in coming back from an offside position.
Having lost to West Ham United and drawn with Arsenal, Spurs have dropped five points - the difference between them and leaders Leicester City - in their last two matches, and Pochettino knows the issue of his team's relative inexperience is one he also has to address.
"We can't stop the opinions of people saying that," he added. "We just need to deliver like this. We showed character, maturity against Arsenal.
"Arsenal come from having 19 years under the same manager and they build a big side with different things. We come from 20 months together… It means more than just one point today."
Was it more than a point? Possibly so. The result did, as Kane acknowledged, keep Arsenal at bay. Arguably, Arsene Wenger's side, with that inevitable sense of crisis, needed to win more than Pochettino's.
"We've had a tough week with some tough games," Kane said. "Look, a point against Arsenal is not the worst result in the world. It still keeps us ahead of them by three points, and we have a good goal difference."
However, there was also a crucial acknowledgement. "We're leaving disappointed," Kane added. "With them going down to 10 men and us scoring two quick goals, we should have then gone on and finished the game off. It's a lesson we have to learn."
Spurs dominated with their intensity but fell behind with Aaron Ramsey's clever flick from a Hector Bellerin pass in a move that was initiated by Danny Welbeck. But Arsenal could not hold on, either.
Once Francis Coquelin was rightly sent off for a foolish second yellow card - Wenger would argue, with justification, that Eric Dier should also have subsequently been dismissed with a second booking for a shirt pull - Toby Alderweireld equalised from close range before Kane's goal.
However, Spurs could not hold on against the 10 men and, as disappointing as Alexis Sanchez has been of late, he is a dangerous player and showed that in claiming a point with a low, angled shot back across Hugo Lloris. © Daily Telegraph, London.
Fan's frustrations a worry for Wenger
Arsène Wenger has admitted he is worried that the “relentless” pressure from Arsenal fans could harm his players’ confidence in the final months of the season but believes that Saturday’s comeback can provide a “spark” to re-ignite their campaign.
“I prefer that the fans are happy but I’m more worried that their reaction can get to the players’ confidence level,” he said.
“You can feel sorry for yourself or respond straight away next game – that’s why I think the group is healthy and there’s a good mentality.”
Wenger had special words of praise for Alexis Sanchez. “He had a strong match, a better attitude, a team attitude and looked always dangerous.”
Wenger was also encouraged by Danny Welbeck’s performance in his first start as the main central striker for more than a year , saying: “When Danny Welbeck is determined and really goes for it and he is ready for the fight, he has all the attributes.”