LONDON -- Arsene Wenger insists that Tottenham are having a "good season" because they are in a similar position to the last two campaigns, and backed Tim Sherwood over Thursday night's confrontation with Benfica manager Jorge Jesus.
Although the comments may sound like the ultimate back-handed compliment from a Gunners manager, Wenger stated last August that Spurs' flurry of summer signings may require time to gel.
But the Arsenal boss believes that fifth-placed Spurs' season can still be considered a success ahead of the North London derby on Sunday afternoon.
"I still think it takes always time when you bring in many new players, but you cannot say Spurs have had a bad season; they have had a good season and they are there," he told a news conference on Friday.
"They have just like everyone else -- like we have -- gone through good and bad periods."
When asked why he thought it was a positive campaign for Spurs, Wenger merely responded: "Because they are in a position in the league that is similar to two years ago.
"They have bought so many players that it might take them some time to get the right balance or find the right level. I think they are a good side."
Wenger also expressed some empathy for Sherwood, saying he is "dealing well" despite so much discussion about his future, and said he was in the right in a stand-off with Jesus.
The Spurs coach had a disagreement with the Eagles' manager during the 3-1 Europa League defeat at White Hart Lane on Thursday, as the managers encroached into each other's technical areas.
"I think he said that the performance was not right, I say that as well sometimes," Wenger continued. "For the rest I think he is dealing well.
"There was an incident last night during the game, I think he was right personally because he had been provoked in an unfair way. Overall he handled the situation well."
Wenger is hoping to end a run of five years without a win at White Hart Lane to keep the Gunners' title hopes alive.
“We have played two draws and three losses," he added. "It is a difficult ground to go to for everybody. We had good and bad memories there, so let’s make sure the good comes out on Sunday.”