Chalobah: “A Point Against A Top Six Team Is Positive”
Nathaniel Chalobah believes only the third ever positive result at the home of one of the 'Big Six' since the club were promoted to the Premier League should be viewed in an extremely positive light.
The England international worked his socks off at the base of the midfield to protect the early lead given to the side by midfield partner Abdoulaye Doucouré and was as crestfallen as anyone at full-time after seeing Dele Alli benefit from a couple of decisions to fire the hosts level four minutes from time.
But the midfielder said everyone connected with the club should view the result through the prism of a half-full glass and recognise that it was only the third time in 26 matches they have boarded the team bus with something tangible from an away game against one of the Premier League elite.
“It's massive,” he said in our post-match show Added Time. “To get a point against any of the top six is a positive thing. To come to Spurs away and get a point, you'd be chuffed with that, but we are disappointed inside as we could have got three.
“We showed great character, great resilience and it's hard to come here and try and play. Spurs are a very good team. They pressed us quite high and we showed we could get out of the press and create chances. We have to take the positives out of every situation right now.”
The only other occasions the team has avoided defeat at one of the top six clubs were at Chelsea under Quique Sánchez Flores in December 2015 and then when Walter Mazzarri pulled off a stunning win at the Emirates in early 2017. Chalobah explained just how hard the team had to work for what they got at Tottenham's new stadium on Saturday.
“It's difficult because you have a lot of time without the ball,” he said. “It's tough to show that quality because it's hard running and closing areas and closing the spaces so they don't hurt us. The big positive is that we are starting to show that strength as a unit.
“We were very unlucky to concede. The last game at home we did very well not to concede [too]. It was a different story at the start of the season and this gaffer has embedded us and closed the gaps to stop teams from scoring first and maybe create something up their end.”
Chalobah scrubbed up well as the deepest lying member of a midfield three in what was only his second league start since early December. He screened the back five well, broke up play nicely and used the ball economically. A match highlight was the sliding interception he made in his own box near the end.
“It was tough,” he said. “In the first 15 minutes I touched the ball four times, I think, but I had to make sure I kept closing the gaps as Clevs and Doucs were going out. It was hard as although we had three at the back and three in midfield, they kept putting Kane and Luca and Dele in the space.
“We handled it very well. They didn't have very many clear-cut chances and we handled it well. It's just frustrating leaving with a point but when we first came here, if you had offered us a point, we'd have taken it.”