Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris played down his half-time row with Son Heung-min during the 1-0 win over Everton – but admitted his teammate “annoyed” him.
Michael Keane’s first-half own goal gave Spurs a much-needed three points that sees them up to eighth in the Premier League and back in the Europa League race.
But tensions were high as Lloris and Son were involved in a heated exchange which involved pushing and shoving after the whistle went for half-time, and they had to be separated by team-mates.
The French goalkeeper later explained why he was angry at Son’s perceived lack of effort – and the pair were later seen hugging at the start of the second half and again at full-time.
Speaking after the game, Lloris told Sky Sports: “It just belongs to the changing room. Outside you can say whatever you want. What happened is just part of football sometimes.
“There is no problem at all, you could see after the game we were fine. I think to concede a chance a few seconds before half-time because we didn’t make a press annoyed me but yeah, that’s football.”
And manager Jose Mourinho, who celebrates a 200th Premier League win as manager, seems to view the clash as a positive.
He said: “It’s beautiful. It’s probably as a consequence of our meetings. If you want to blame someone for that it’s me. I was critical of my boys – they were not critical enough with themselves. I asked them to be more demanding of each other.
“Son is an amazing kid, everybody likes Son but the captain told him you have to do more and give more to the team.
“It’s something needed for the team to grow up – to grow up you need big personalities. When you have that reaction I had no doubts.”
Indeed, Tottenham reignited their European ambitions with a nervy 1-0 win over the Toffees.
The result saw them bounce back from their disappointing defeat by Sheffield United last time out.
Lloris added: “In terms of personal investment it was much better than the last game.
“We don’t have the right to lose more points, it’s important to have a run. Tonight 1-0 is enough, we kept a clean sheet and made the effort together.
“Let’s be honest, we are in a situation we are not happy with so we have to fight, to make sure we all go in the same direction.
“It’s not our best season but we have to finish as high as we can. Now we have to move on as a team and that’s the most important thing.
“We are in a situation where we need to fight. We are not happy to be in this position. Most important is to stay focused on the team. We can only do it as a team.
“When you play a season like this one it’s very easy to fall apart but we showed we are still together. We will see, there are five games to go. Let’s finish the season in a good way and analyse it later.”