Toby Alderweireld has admitted Tottenham were “hurt” by the criticism they were receiving ahead of Sunday’s north London derby, but says the pain helped Spurs beat Arsenal.
Despite victories over West Ham United and Everton, Jose Mourinho’s men have been poor since the restart, particularly struggling in a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United and Thursday’s goalless draw at Bournemouth.
The Bournemouth game, in which Tottenham failed to register a single shot on target, led to a barrage of criticism aimed at Mourinho and the players.
Dropping two points at the Vitality Stadium ended an already difficult battle to qualify for the Champions League, but Spurs boosted their chances of sealing a Europa League spot by overcoming their fiercest rivals on Sunday.
And Alderweireld, who scored the winner against Arsenal, has told the London Evening Standard that he and his teammates were motivated by the media negativity.
“Of course [Bournemouth] hurt,” said the Belgian. “There was some negativity about us in the media – that’s normal but nobody sees how hard we’re working to change things.
“I don’t want to say, ‘No, all the criticism, everything [people say] is untrue’ but of course it hurts because we work so hard. Everyone wants to change things, everyone wants better results.
“Sometimes you just need some momentum and confidence. I think from minute one [against Arsenal], after a couple of seconds, we had a shot on goal. That showed what our intentions were.”
Tottenham will now be hopeful of securing Europa League football for next season, though Manchester City’s European ban ruling will make things more difficult for the Londoners – find out why here.