What Mikel Arteta told Arsenal stars after Tottenham derby defeat

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal struggled in the north London derby (Picture: Sky Sports)

Mikel Arteta has revealed what he told his Arsenal squad after their damaging north London derby defeat to Tottenham.

Harry Kane’s first-half brace and Son Heung-min’s second-half goal saw Spurs secure a crucial 3-0 win over their top-four rivals on Thursday night.

An Arsenal victory would have seen the Gunners qualify for next season’s Champions League and ensure they finish above Spurs for the first time in six years.

But Tottenham’s win has blown the top-four race wide open, with Antonio Conte’s side now just one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with two games remaining.

While Arteta refused to comment on the performance of referee Paul Tierney, he was clearly frustrated with the officials after Rob Holding was sent off and Spurs were awarded a penalty in the first half.

The Spaniard lifted the lid on his post-match dressing room talk to the players, telling BBC Sport: ‘I have already picked them up.

‘This game is history and all our focus is Newcastle, Newcastle, Newcastle. I told them I was so proud of them and if we do what we did in the first half an hour here we will be fine against Newcastle.

Harry Kane scored twice in Tottenham’s crucial win (Picture: Getty)

‘I worry a lot about today. I really, really worry about today but I don’t worry about the performance of my players. I want to be where we deserve to be.’

Arteta added: ‘I cannot give you an honest assessment because I will be suspended for a long time. I like to be honest and I cannot give an honest assessment.

‘I am so proud of my players, this game is gone, we’ve lost it, we accept it. We move to Newcastle.’

Spurs boss Conte, meanwhile, said his team’s win was his best moment yet in charge of the north Londoners.

‘Yeah for sure. The atmosphere was amazing,’ Conte said. ‘For this reason we have to give thanks to our fans.

‘They were incredible and pushed us a lot. We repaid them with a good win. We won an important derby and now we are close to them in the table.’

Despite the 3-0 defeat, Arsenal will finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League if they beat Newcastle United on Monday night and Everton next weekend.

But any more slip-ups will allow Tottenham to pip them ahead of their fixtures against Burnley on Sunday and Norwich City on the final day of the season.

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