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'He had to stay on the pitch' - Arsenal boss Arteta explains Partey shove during Kane goal

19:52 GMT 06/12/2020
Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2020
The Spaniard was seen to push the Ghana international back onto the pitch despite him nursing a knock

Mikel Arteta has defended his choice to push an injured Thomas Partey back onto the pitch during Arsenal's north London derby defeat to Tottenham, explaining he did so in an attempt to prevent Harry Kane's successful strike on the stroke of half-time.

Goals for Son Heung-min and the England skipper proved the difference at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Jose Mourinho outfoxed the Gunners to take the spoils and local bragging rights in their Premier League clash.

Both strikes spawned from impressive breaks and deliveries by the Spurs pair, with the Korea international curling in an absolute beauty and the Three Lions captain rifling home a close-range effort.

During the build-up to the latter finish Ghana international Partey hobbled to the sideline, nursing a knock that would ultimately force his substitution.

As Tottenham broke forward, Arteta pushed the ex-Atletico Madrid man back onto the pitch in a vain attempt to cut short the attack.

Speaking after the match Arteta was quick to defend his actions, indicating that he attempted to push Partey on to prevent Spurs from scoring, while stressing that his side enjoyed a statistical superiority that they failed to convert.

"He has to stay on the pitch," he told BBC Sport. "I applaud their first goal, it is world class, but the second goal we are a man down, we leave a massive gap and they take advantage.

"After that we dominated, they didn't have any chances, but they win the game. I don't know what else we can do. If we can't score goals we cannot improve our situation."

Arteta further elaborated on the Partey incident in his post-game press conference, saying: "I was trying to push him. I didn’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position. But probably that was because he was in a lot of pain. There’s nothing we can do at the moment to resolve that.

"I think it was a four-against-three situation for us and suddenly they are coming to us and Thomas was walking to me. I tried to push him. I haven’t spoken to him. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but he felt something really serious."

Doubling down on his side's technical domination - Arsenal enjoyed 70 per cent of possession throughout and almost double the number of shots as Spurs - the ex-Manchester City assistant professed his pride in his side's overall performance.

"I saw a team full of passion, dominating the team and creating chances but in the end it is about the end product and that is why they are top of the table," Arteta added to Sky Sports. "I think we had 44 crosses.

"The fight and the spirit and the way they played in this stadium is to be applauded but it is not enough to win football matches because we are not scoring goals."