Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was pleased to avoid an undeserved north London derby defeat to Arsenal on his 47th birthday.
Spurs hosted Arsenal on Saturday afternoon at the Wembley Arena looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat on Pochettino’s big day.
Despite Aaron Ramsey giving Spurs a scare by handing Arsenal a 16th-minute lead, the Gunners were wasteful in front of goal and failed to add to their advantage.
Spurs’ persistence was then awarded when Harry Kane won a penalty in the 74th-minute under some rather controversial circumstances following a challenge from Shkodran Mustafi in the area.
The English striker then slotted home the spot-kick to put Spurs level before keeper Hugo Lloris came to the rescue by saving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late penalty to spare Pochettino of a birthday defeat.
“Yes [Hugo] Lloris’ save was a massive present,” Pochettino told BBC.
“I am so happy because we didn’t deserve to lose the game – we were better than them so it would be a shame to lose the game in that way.
“I am happy with the performance, it was a tough game and difficult to play Arsenal but I am happy after two defeats to take a positive result to build confidence to go to Tuesday and Borussia Dortmund and go through to the next stage of the Champions League.”
The 47-year-old was pleased with the way his players responded following Ramsey’s early opener for Arsenal and argued that Spurs were, in fact, the better team in many aspects despite their opponents’ apparent dominance.
Pochettino added: “We talked at half-time. After 15 minutes we were playing like we are 1-0 down in the 90th minute and we take too much risk one v one.
“The character that we showed was great to come back and the way we played maybe wasn’t great but we showed great character and sustained effort during the 90 minutes. Tottenham were better than Arsenal in the different aspects.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Unai Emery refused to blame the referee for Kane’s penalty after the Spurs striker was proven to be offside on the video replays.
“If you ask me about offside you need to ask about the moment after 12 minutes, [Granit] Xhaka on Kane, which wasn’t a foul,” said Pochettino on Kane’s offside.
“That situation is so difficult to understand. The most important thing is the performance was good to build a positive run.”