Tottenham star Ryan Sessegnon is fired up for Burnley test after an electric North London Derby but says the Gunners still have the edge in the race to qualify for the Champions League
Ryan Sessegnon reckons Thursday’s crushing defeat of Arsenal in the North London derby was proof that Tottenhamcan handle the pressure of the run-in.
Whether the same can be said of the Gunners remains to be seen after Rob Holding and manager Mikel Arteta lost their heads at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But Antonio Conte’s men answered the call from their boss to show the mentality of a big team in what was arguably their biggest match of the season. And they did it to such an extent that it was the visitors who were left looking more ‘Spursy’ than Spurs.
Sessegnon, whose side take on relegation-threatened Burnley in another big game today, said: “We showed we can deal with the pressure of many difficult situations. We are very positive about the way the season is looking for us but the job is not done and that is what we need to keep reminding ourselves.
Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
“Burnley is another big test. We have to win and, as great as Thursday was, it’s forgotten about now. It is a mental game now. We have to keep our cool, keep our focus and try to win the game.”
The value of the experience such as captain Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have in the game is never greater than at this time of the season when so much is on the line.
And Sessegnon added: “It’s vital. Especially games like Thursday, they have played those types of games, they’ve been in this situation before. They’ve been trying to fight to get in the Champions League in previous seasons for the club.
“We need those people in and around the changing room to settle the nerves, speak to the younger players, and keep us focused. It’s very important.” The fact Spurs, who are a point behind Arsenal with two games to go, play today while the Gunners must wait until tomorrow evening gives Sessegnon and Co a huge opportunity to lay down a marker but the wing-back knows his side aren’t in the driving seat yet.
He said: “Arsenal still have the advantage. They’re one point ahead. You could say the momentum is with us after the great win on Thursday but that’s done now. We need to focus on Burnley. It probably is the best way to just get the Burnley game over and to get the win, hopefully, so then it puts the pressure back on them on Monday night — that’s our next focus.”
While Champions League qualification is the most immediate focus, the fact Sessegnon is playing regularly and well won’t have been lost on England boss Gareth Southgate in World Cup year. In Russia four years ago, he was taken along with Phil Foden and Mason Mount by sponsors Nike but this time he is hoping it will be as part of the Three Lions squad.
Sessegnon added: “It was a very good experience at the time. To go to Russia and get the feeling of being in and around a World Cup, it was a fantastic tournament. Looking at another World Cup coming up, it can only make you dream of being in that type of situation at senior level.”