Defender Danny Rose apologised for setting a bad example after frustrations boiled over during Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea.
There was no love lost between the two sides at Stamford Bridge as a feisty encounter produced 12 yellow cards as well as two melees in which both sets of players and coaches were involved.
Both club’s may yet face retrospective action from the Football Association, with Mousa Dembele particularly likely to receive a rebuke after he appeared to claw his fingers down Diego Costa’s face during a skirmish at the end of the first half.
There were several other incidents of petulance during the game and matters came to a head again at the full-time whistle when a melee in the tunnel resulted in Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink being pushed to the ground.
Rose, who sparked the first brawl after clashing with Willian, said he was sorry for how the game may have looked to young viewers.
“It is not nice to see for kids here or kids watching on TV. I apologise if it looked bad on TV,” Rose said.
“It is a London derby. It is to be expected. We wanted to win and they wanted to stop us having any more say in the title race.
“There are no bad words to say about Chelsea. These are the games you want to be part of. It was a great game.”
Erik Lamela appeared to tread deliberately on Cesc Fabregas’ hand, Eric Dier was lucky not to be sent off for a reckless challenge and Costa was also fortunate not to receive punishment after leaning his head into Jan Vertonghen’s face.
The ill-feeling continued after the game as another scrum outside the tunnel saw Hiddink fall to the ground while the likes of Rose, Costa and Vertonghen grappled with each other.
“I couldn’t tell you what happened, it was just handbags being thrown,” Rose added.