"If you look at the last four or five years, Arsenal have always got ahead of us slightly. But now I think it's certainly even and if you look at the squads, I think that our bench is probably a little bit stronger than theirs at the moment ... We want to get into the Champions League and certainly the players have that feeling. If we want to achieve that aim of getting into the top four, these are the games that you want to be winning. "
In light of the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of that other team from North London, Robbie Keane's pre-match pronouncements now look more than a little foolish. Although Harry Redknapp has tried to put a brave face on the performance and the result, Spurs were, frankly, fortunate not to lose by a bigger margin - a fact not lost on the Arsenal boss.
Keane did, of course, start the game and get his customary hour on the field. And, as is his custom these days, he contributed virtually nothing before being substituted. The bigger problem for Spurs was that, while Keane was reliably anonymous, several players who can normally be relied upon to hold the team together instead failed to show up. King and Assou-Ekotto were shocking at the back, while Palacios was badly at fault for Arsenal's second goal.
Much less is expected of Huddlestone and Jenas and they duly met those expectations in full. The only players seemingly up to the task in this derby game were Gomes (just about), Corluka, Bassong and the hardworking Crouch.
Let's not, though, forget David Bentley. If only that were possible. Having somehow managed to escape a yellow card following a dreadful foul on Vermaelen, Bentley proceeded to show why he should never be included in the team for any game that matters. After a series of ludicrously flashy tricks in the first half - none of which came off - he fortunately lost interest in the second. Before the match, Harry Redknapp described Bentley as being in "the right frame of mind" to face his former club. That implies that Bentley has a mind, which, based on his childish display against Arsenal, must surely be open to question.
Woodgate, Lennon, Defoe and especially Modric cannot return quickly enough. Spurs have taken just four points from their last four Premier League fixtures, with three of those games having been against modest opposition. If Redknapp genuinely does believe that Spurs "will be right up there at the end of the season", then he must be anticipating much-improved performances from this point on.