Gilberto - We were lucky
Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva admits his side were fortunate not to lose their impressive record over their North London rivals
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 10/01/08 3:10pm
Tottenham may not have defeated arch-rivals Arsenal since 1999 - but Gunners midfielder Gilberto admits his Arsenal side were lucky to 'escape' without defeat in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.
Jermaine Jenas gave the visitors a first-half lead, but Arsenal hit back through Theo Walcott to leave the tie balancing on a knife-edge.
It could have so easily been a different story and Spurs could have been out of sight if they had shown more composure in front of goal.
Steed Malbranque and Jermain Defoe both missed great chances for the visitors and, although still disappointed with the result, Brazilian Gilberto knows it could have been a lot worse for his side.
"It was not the result we wanted, but to get a draw was important and okay in the circumstances, being 1-0 down against a good side," he said.
"In the first half they created so many good chances and could have killed the game but we escaped a second or even third goal.
"In the second half we did not give them much space and we got a goal from Walcott and we are still alive in the competition."
The veteran midfielder has urged his side to maintain their focus despite the growing stranglehold the Gunners have over their North London rivals.
"The only thing on our mind when we play them is that it will be hard, even though we have not lost for some time," he said.
"Maybe it does affect them. It is hard when you face a team and have not beaten them for a long time.
"So it is important for us in these types of games to be mentally strong, because if you let things happen, they can take advantage of it."
Speculation still mounts over the future of the Brazilian World Cup winner after he has become frustrated with the lack of first-team opportunities.
"I am doing my job, trying to help when I have a chance to play - that is the only thing I have on my mind," he said.