There was no taking the smile off Olivier Giroud’s face after his exquisite finish set us on our way to three points against Tottenham, and afterwards the striker spoke in detail about his goal and the significance of the London derby win.
Giroud was making his first start since November and only his third in the league this season, but showed no signs of rustiness, leading the line with authority and firing us ahead with a controlled left-footed finish on the quarter-hour.
‘It’s a good movement with Jorgio, it was a good understanding and I knew the ball would be there,’ Giroud explained of his goal.
‘It was on my right foot; I couldn’t get it on my left one so I tried to finish. Ross followed the action and I was lucky the ball came back after hitting the post. It was a good feeling for me, a good moment and I am so happy to have helped the team to win.
‘It was a very important game for us. I want to talk about the team spirit. We showed great character. We knew it was maybe a kind of turning point because we lost a bit of confidence at home. It was nice to bounce back and get this hard win against a rival. It’s been three months in the stands, so it was a special day for me and for all of us. I feel really happy!’
Cesar Azpilicueta put in a typically diligent performance to limit Tottenham to very few chances. Like so often between 2016 and 2018, the Spaniard was positioned on the right-hand side of a back three, and it was that system that again helped us getting the better of our north London rivals.
‘It worked perfectly,’ stated the skipper.
‘We have shown over the season we can adapt to different systems. Every game is different, but above the tactics we knew what this game means for everybody at the football club. We knew our home form wasn’t the best, and they would want revenge after we beat them 2-0 away. We showed great character and spirit.
‘We are a squad,’ added Azpi when asked about the inclusion of Giroud and the other goalscorer, Marcos Alonso.
‘We need to be ready for every game. It’s difficult when you don’t play, everybody wants to help the team, everybody keeps training hard and fighting to be in the team. The competition is what gives the team that extra per cent where everybody can push to the limit.’
Azpilicueta also gave his verdict on the decision not to award Giovani Lo Celso a red card in the second half, with the PGMOL later admitting he should have seen red.
‘I'm not a player that likes to be on the floor because I'm defender, I’m tough and I make fouls, but it was not my fault because it was a clear stamp on my shin. I felt it straight away.
‘I was surprised it was not a red card, not even a yellow card. Obviously everybody makes mistakes but when you have a lot of replays it could be easier.’