Dejan Kulusevski at loss to explain Spurs’ first-half failures against Arsenal
Posted by  badge Boss on Jan 17, 2023 - 04:45PM
Spurs’ Dejan Kulusevski battles for possession with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka (Picture: Getty)

Dejan Kulusevski admits ’s dismal first-half form is a mystery but told his team-mates they have no time to feel sorry for themselves after the derby defeat to .

Premier League leaders Arsenal completed a first double over Spurs in nine years with a comfortable 2-0 win to move 14 points ahead of their rivals after ’s 25-yard strike backed up an own goal by Hugo Lloris.

The Gunners struck twice in the opening 36 minutes to take control and continue Tottenham’s terrible run of first-half displays. ’s side have not held a half-time lead since October 12 and have conceded first in 11 of their last 14 matches.

‘Yeah, bad result, bad first half, but we have to move on,’ insisted Spurs winger Kulusevski.

‘We cannot go home and be sad. We have another game soon and we just have to recover good. I have no idea, honestly. What I see is that when 
we score first we win the games and when we don’t, it’s much less per cent (of wins).

‘It’s very hard for everybody but if we don’t start the games better we’re not going to win, so we have to stop doing that.

‘We’re trying. Nobody wants to concede first but everyone is trying. To find a solution is a little bit harder.’

Martin Odegaard of Arsenal celebrates his goal (Picture: James Gill/Getty)

Much like in October’s north London derby at the Emirates, Tottenham were exposed in midfield, with Arsenal’s trio of Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka too good and regularly swarming all over Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Pape Sarr.

Kulusevski said: ‘We started good and then they scored a lucky goal and after that we couldn’t touch them.

‘They’re a really good team, they are not first in the league because of luck, so it was hard for us to keep the ball, to press them.’

Controversy marred the end of the derby, with a home supporter jumping on an advertising hoarding before aiming a kick at Aaron Ramsdale.

Aaron Ramsdale was kicked by a Tottenham fan after the Gunners’ 2-0 win (Picture: Sky Sports)

The Football Association, Met Police and Spurs are all looking into the incident but the immediate focus for fifth-placed Tottenham is an ominous trip to Manchester City on Thursday. Referencing last season’s 3-2 win at the Etihad, Kulusevski added: ‘We have good memories from playing there.

‘It’s going to be a very difficult game but we have to do everything right.

‘Like I said, you cannot be sad. You have to move on. We have to show our character and we’re going to be ready.’


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