Antonio Conte has insisted that the penalty awarded to Tottenham and Rob Holding’s sending off were both the correct decisions.
There was plenty of pressure on Spurs heading into the north London derby, with the Lilywhites knowing they had to win to keep pace with Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.
In the end, the home side could have not hoped for things to go any better as not only did they cruise to a 3-0 win but they were able to take their foot off the pedal in the second half and conserve energy ahead of their clash against Burnley on Sunday.
Conte praised the intensity his players showed that admitted that the atmosphere in the stadium pushed the team on.
The Spurs head coach told BBC Sport: “For sure a good result. The most important thing was to get three points. This way we continue to stay in the race for a place in the Champions League.
“Tonight was very difficult because when you must win it is never easy. I know the pressure that is on the shoulders of the players and on my shoulders. To play in this way with this intensity and this passion makes me very happy.
“I have to thank my players and the fans because the atmosphere was amazing. They pushed us from the start until the end. Now I ask our fans to do the same on Sunday because we have another must-win game against Burnley. We are playing against a team trying to avoid relegation.”
The result was effectively done and dusted when Harry Kane doubled Tottenham’s lead towards the end of the first half, minutes after Holding got his marching orders.
Arteta was not happy with referee Paul Tierney’s decision to award Spurs a penalty for Cedric Soares’ push on Son Heung-min or his decision to send Holding off.
The Arsenal boss stated that “a beautiful game was destroyed” by the referee and insisted that he would be suspended if he said what he truly felt about the decisions (Sky Sports).
However, Conte insisted that there was no doubt over either the penalty or the red card.
The Spurs boss said: “It was very clear both situations. Usually, when you lose it is normal to complain.
“Holding deserved to take a yellow card before and the referee decided to wait a bit. Son against Holding was a really tough day for him.”
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One can understand why Arteta might feel disappointed with the penalty decision, which was a 50-50 call. However, it is quite ridiculous to dispute Holding’s red card.
As Conte points out, the referee was being quite lenient on the Arsenal defender and only booked him after he persistently fouled Son. Replays clearly show that Holding can have no complaints about his second yellow.
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