‘Very special’ – Gary Neville left impressed by what he saw at the Tottenham Stadium

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Gary Neville
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Gary Neville has praised the ‘special’ atmosphere at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during Spurs’ win over Arsenal in the north London derby and claimed he has not seen better scenes this season. 

Spurs improved their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League on Thursday by strolling to a 3-0 victory in N17 against the 10-man Gunners. 

Harry Kane scored twice in between a sending off for Rob Holding, before Heung-min Son ended any chance of an Arsenal comeback with an early strike in the second half. 

The players were greeted by a rocking atmosphere by more than 62,000 spectators in N17, while the Spurs faithful created a pre-match tifo display reading ‘Dare, Dream, Do’ in the stadium’s huge single-tiered south stand. 

The carnival atmosphere continued throughout as Tottenham brushed aside their arch-rivals and Neville, who was on co-commentary duties, was left impressed with what he soaked in. 

The former England and Manchester United defender claimed he hadn’t experienced anything like that at all this season and flirted with the idea that it could convince Antonio Conte to commit his future in north London beyond this summer. 

Neville wrote in his column for Sky Sports: “What is happening with Conte at the end of the season? Tonight, there are not going to be many clubs in Europe that Conte is going to be able to go to. This is the league at the moment. I have been critical of this league four or five years ago when it was underperforming in Europe but this is a great league at this moment in time with great managers. It is where I think you want to be a manager in terms of showcasing yourself.

“Actually, what he saw tonight was pretty special. In fact, it was very special what he saw tonight. That atmosphere, I have not seen in a stadium in this country this season. And I think this has been one of the highest standard Premier Leagues that I have seen, if not the highest, that is a pretty high compliment.

“I think for Conte, that was big tonight. Champions League? No brainer, he stays. The only problem is that he wants to be in the Champions League, he needs to be in the Champions League. So, I do think it is a big night. But irrespective of whether they get into the Champions League, this must have an impact on Conte. I know he is quite ruthless about where he wants to be and what he wants to do. But that must have had an impact on him.

“Those players out there will see something building if they get in this Champions League. It is going to do unbelievable things for Spurs. They look a bit more experienced, more composed, more mature and in order. Arsenal look more fragile. In the last week of the season, you want that reliability. I do see Spurs being favourites now.

“I know Arsenal have that point [advantage]. If they win the two games, if they go to Newcastle and win and then beat Everton on the last day of the season, then brilliant by Arsenal. Mikel Arteta has done a great job this season. But I do think it is tough.”

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The atmosphere on Thursday was electric and there are no doubts that it helped the players push through with earning a big result under pressure. 

Having that 12th man will be so vital ahead of Burnley this weekend as that fixture has the potential to be a banana skin as already experience, so hopefully a similar setting can be created to give the players a boost. 

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