Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has fired the first shot across Arsenal’s bow ahead of Sunday’s north London derby (Watch live, 12:30 pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Asked about Tottenham and Arsenal in relation to one another, three places and seven points apart in the Premier League table, Mourinho claimed he has not spent much time thinking about the Gunners this season — quotes from the Guardian:
“I look up, I don’t look down. If Arsenal was seven points ahead of us I would look to them but because we have seven points more than them, I don’t look down. At the same time, we look always to the next match and if instead of Arsenal it was [Aston] Villa or Newcastle – exactly the same feeling.
“We feel we’re better than the position we have in the table and we want to improve our position so we need points for that. It doesn’t matter the opponent, doesn’t matter if it is a derby. It’s a Premier League match, three points are there to fight for and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Immense pressure exists for both sides ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal sitting 10th in the table amid another hugely underwhelming season, whereas Tottenham are suddenly just five points behind 4th-place Chelsea (with a game in hand) after winning three straight league games in nine days’ time.
Harry Kane is in fine form once again (five goals, two assists in Tottenham’s current four-game winning streak across all competitions), and the resurgence of Gareth Bale (six goals, three assists in Spurs’ last seven games) has undeniably lifted the spirits of the squad. It’s not just those two, however, who have delighted Mourinho in recent weeks.
“The reason why we changed seven players from the last match was because I trust all the guys. The last time I did this we lost against Antwerp and everybody was killing me. And rightly so, because I made these decisions but in that match I felt let down by attitude and it was a moment where not everybody was working well.”