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Eric Dier and Conte on how Spurs underperformed in the North London derby.

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Tottenham defender Eric Dier bemoaned the Lilywhites North London derby 2-0 loss to arch-rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

The England international Dier admitted that they were below par in the first half as they “conceded two poor goals” within 22 minutes.

Antonio Conte’s side fell behind in the 14th minute as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris fumbled a close-range shot from Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka's into the net. And nine minutes before half-time, captain Martin Odegaard scored the second with a superb shot from outside the area.

Spurs were so poor in the first half, but they put in a better performance in the second half, however, Aaron Ramsdale was determined to keep a clean sheet as he saved crucial strikes from Harry Kane and also stopped Ryan Sessegnon.

"We conceded two poor goals,” Eric Dier to Sky Sports. “The first was a bit unfortunate but I don't think we started too badly. Then they got the first goal and had better chances in the first half.

"Second half, we came out and played really well. We could've easily got back into the game. Ramsdale made a lot of good saves and we are just missing that goal. If we get the first, then who knows what happens?

"We had spells of possession in their half at 0-0, we just didn't really create any chances. Both goals are poor. They were the better team but I don't think it is as clear as the result shows.

"Obviously it's not what you want at your own stadium, especially against a rival. But it is what it is. They are a very good side, they are top for a reason. We just have to move on."

Tottenham boss Conte spoke about his side’s top-four chances after admitting Arsenal were the better team on the day.

It was difficult to come back after we conceded two goals,” the Italian said. “When we conceded the first, we had the possibility to level the game with Sonny and the keeper made a fantastic save. Then they scored the second goal. It could have killed everybody, but not my players as in the second half we tried with a big effort to score and create problems for Arsenal.

"The keeper made fantastic saves today. Arsenal is a difficult opponent now, like Man City. Both teams are going to contend for the Premier League title.

"We played against a strong team but at the same time, I’ve not got great disappointment for the commitment of my players. They showed great will and desire to try and come back. Sometimes in the past, we did, but today their keeper was really good.

"Arsenal showed to be a really good team. It wasn’t easy for them to play against us in this atmosphere but they have a great balance and suffer in the right moments. They showed great resilience in the second half.

“When a team does this, it means they are ready to fight to win the title with Man City. They are the only two teams who can fight for the Premier League this season.”

On Tottenham’s top-four chances, he asserted: “We have to continue to work really hard and we will see our position at the end of the season. Be it the Champions League or Europa League. Teams like Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Newcastle, also Brighton, and Brentford. It is really difficult because every team can spend money and even the middle or lower teams have international players.”

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