Jose Mourinho passed on his ‘congratulations’ to Mikel Arteta and said the under-fire Spaniard gave his Tottenham side a ‘very difficult game’ after Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat in Sunday’s north London derby.
Son Heung-min opened the scoring with a stunning long-range strike in the 13th minute and Harry Kane doubled the hosts’ advantage with an unstoppable finish right on half-time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs held onto their two-goal lead to return to the top of the Premier League table despite having just 31 per cent of the possession in the match and the result leaves the Gunners languishing down in 15th place, 11 points behind their bitter rivals.
‘I want to give good words and congratulations to Mikel because he gave us a very difficult game.
‘Tactically, they are very good, they were very well organised, they were building with four, defending with five.
‘Then in the second half they tried to find triangles on the side and they gave us problems, problems that we managed to resolve because the players in this moment have good tactical culture.
‘And even, above that, they have an incredible spirit but they gave us problems because they are a good team and he is a good coach.
‘But we deserved to win I guess because two amazing goals.’
Mourinho added: ‘I can imagine tomorrow there, that the headlines will be about them not being in a good position on the table.
‘But I believe with this players, with Mikel, Arsenal will be Arsenal again.’
Speaking to BBC Sport, Mourinho insisted Arteta was a ‘very good coach’ despite Arsenal’s poor run of results in recent weeks.
‘Sonny and Harry, their finishing was amazing,’ the Portuguese said.
‘In the second half they created problems, they are a very good team. I don’t care about the table or where they are, they are very good. Mikel is a very good coach.
‘We kept a clean sheet in the second half which was the objective. Why expose us by trying to have more of the ball?
‘They are very good tactically, Mikel is clever. Granit Xhaka dropped into the back three which makes it hard for Harry Kane to press.
‘We have taken seven points. The problem with the Premier League is that next it is Crystal Palace and there is no guarantee we win.
‘I believe the public and the fans at home are enjoying the moment, for one more week we are top of the league. It is good fun.’