Christian Eriksen has revealed that he and his Tottenham team-mates were left infuriated when Arsenal surmounted them on the final day of the Premier League season.
The Gunners have famously finished above their north London rivals in each of the last 21 seasons, coincidentally the same amount of time that Arsene Wenger has been at the club.
Frustratingly, Tottenham required just a point in their final game against Newcastle United to seal second place. Considering the Magpies had already been relegated, it was hardly a formidable task.
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However, Mauricio Pochettino's men completely collapsed, losing 5-1, even conceding three goals when Newcastle were down to 10 men. Arsenal made no mistake against a hapless Aston Villa side, winning 4-0 to leap into the runner's up position by a solitary point.
Fans on the east side of north London were left gutted and now Eriksen has revealed the players were equally inconsolable following the final whistle. He did, however, say that Tottenham should be satisfied with their overall performance across the season, which saw them qualify for the Champions League for just the second time.
"On the whole we can be satisfied," the 24-year-old told Danish outlet BT. "We got what we wanted, and it was a place in the Champions League next season. However, it is infuriating for us and our fans that Arsenal finished above us.
"Finishing behind Arsenal certainly means to a lot to the players too. As a player, we want to make the fans happy. We play well for the fans who come and see us. They rub off on us.
"Many of our players have played youth football against Arsenal. You cannot lose to them. I know from the rivalry between FC Copenhagen and Brondby in Denmark. It hurt and it was hard to take to finish below Arsenal.
"We knew that we could no longer win the championship, but we just needed a point [against Newcastle] to finish above Arsenal. The 2-1 loss against Southampton was a big blow which perhaps meant that we were not up to scratch in the last game."
Big club mentality
It was clear the prospect of finishing behind Arsenal held Tottenham down against Rafa Benitez's relegated side. Indeed, towards the end of the game, the often impenetrable Spurs defence looked completely hapless as they conceded goal after goal.
And Pochettino believes his players will have to stop thinking about their local rivals if they are to get into the mindset of being big club players.
Speaking on Match of the Day, the Argentine said: "This is the big problem. We need to start to look at ourselves and not look at what happens with our neighbours.
"We need to think like a big club, not to be worried what happens in another house. We need to change the mentality to be a big, big club."
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