Jose Mourinho only had nice things to say about Mikel Arteta after the North London derby, though I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho walks on th epitch ahead of the second half during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Jose Mourinho walks on the pitch on July 19, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)

Tottenham Hotspur overcame Arsenal in the latest North London derby at the weekend, scoring two first-half goals to win the match 2-0.

Though Arsenal dominated the possession and created more chances than their opponents, they weren’t able to take any of them. None of the opportunities were sufficiently clear-cut to complain about luck either.

With Spurs taking the lead so early in the game, they didn’t need the goals like Arsenal did anyway. They had no reason to come out and attack.

Despite the fact they never threatened to win the game, Jose Mourinho thinks Arsenal and Mikel Arteta gave Spurs a match, and he argues they’re better than their league position suggests.

“[Arteta] gave us a very difficult game,” Mourinho said. “Tactically they were very good, very organised. They gave us problems, problems we were able to resolve.

“They have a good tactical courage and incredible spirit. They are a good team and he is a good coach.

“I can imagine tomorrow the headlines will be about them not being in a good position in the table, but I believe with these players and Mikel it will be Arsenal vs Tottenham again.”

Despite what some may think, I don’t believe Mourinho is saying nice things he doesn’t believe just to keep an underperforming manager in the job. But I do think his willingness to praise Arteta shows he doesn’t really feel threatened by Arsenal right now.

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave Mourinho plenty of reasons to praise them, even in defeat, but he rarely did. Instead, he’d throw in little jabs at every opportunity.

I’d rather he was upset with Arteta for getting under his skin than friendly with him after a comfortable win.