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James Maddison believes Tottenham are starting to shed their ‘Spursy’ tag after they continued a fine start to the new season with a battling 2-2 draw at rivals Arsenal.
Spurs had lost on their last three visits to the Emirates and not won there in the Premier League since 2010.
Tottenham’s losing streak to Arsenal could have continued after Cristian Romero’s own goal and Bukayo Saka’s penalty twice put the hosts ahead in the north London derby, but Son Heung-min equalised twice – both from Maddison assists – to earn a share of the spoils.
A lengthy trophy drought coupled with frequent collapses on the biggest of occasions contributed towards the ‘Spursy’ tag growing during the past few years, but the club’s new number 10 hit back following another strong showing by Ange Postecoglou’s team.
“We’re not in there celebrating a point, I think there was a few little moments at the end especially in the dying minutes where we could have maybe won it from a set-piece,” Maddison told talkSPORT.
“I think winning late last week and coming back twice (here), when you hear fans and neutrals talk about Tottenham they often say, ‘soft, weak, they’ll bottle it, Spursy’, all that rubbish. I think the last couple of weeks shows that we might be going in a slightly different direction.
“We scored in the 98th and 101st minute against Sheffield United to win late on when it looked like it was going to be one of those days.
“Here we go behind twice at arguably one of the best teams in the world, we pull it back and we’re still fighting right until the end. Hopefully we can continue that.”
Maddison was crucial to Tottenham leaving the Emirates with a point after he set up both of Son’s goals to make it four assists in six league matches since his summer switch from Leicester.
It could have been a different story had Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute when he robbed the ball from Maddison on the edge of Spurs’ penalty area, but the Arsenal forward blazed over.
Postecoglou continued to encourage his team to play out from the back and that bravery was rewarded with a fine display where Tottenham enjoyed 53 per cent possession, a marked improvement on the 35 per cent they had under Antonio Conte at the Emirates last season in a humbling 3-1 loss.
I gave the ball away edge of the box, they nearly scored and it is so easy to sink and not carry on playing the way the manager wants us to play, but that’s what bravery is.
Maddison added: “I was really proud of how courageous the lads were and how brave we were. There were a couple of occasions in the first half, myself included, where we gave the ball away.
“I gave the ball away edge of the box, they nearly scored and it is so easy to sink and not carry on playing the way the manager wants us to play, but that’s what bravery is.
“It is having big b**** to take the ball under pressure. I gave it away but the manager makes me feel so good that I can get it again and if I give it away, it’s OK because that’s how he wants us to play.
“He won’t be cheering if I keep giving it away on the edge of the box, but it was only once and once was enough to remind me to be a bit quicker because these derby games are a rapid pace.
“After that I thought we passed the ball really well and had spells where we dominated.”
Meanwhile, Maddison was happy to give back some stick post-match to England team-mate Saka, who mimicked Maddison’s own darts celebration for both of Arsenal’s goals, but was turned by the Spurs playmaker for Son’s first goal.
Maddison, who was forced off with a slight knee injury, quipped to SpursPlay: “Me and Bukayo had a bit of banter and a bit of trash talking if you like on international duty.
“I got told he did the dart celebration and he must have still been doing it when I turned him for the first goal.”
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