JOSE MOURINHO says Tottenham have bigger things to worry about than finishing above Arsenal.
Jose Mourinho says victory over Arsenal is a lower priority now that his Spurs side are challenging at the top of the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Tottenham will be more fired up for Arsenal than vs LASK in Thursday’s 3-3 draw but Mourinho still suggests the derby is less important than usualCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Asked the significance of the rivalry, Mourinho said: “It means more when we are not in the position we are now.
“Because we are in such a good position, it is a little bit different.
Harry Kane moved level with Michael Owen after scoring against West Brom
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“We want the points and we are not just thinking, ‘We want to beat Arsenal because to beat them is the only good thing we can give our fans’.
“It happened when we played Arsenal in the last part of the season.
“It was just about winning against them to give us something, to have a good feeling.
“But in this moment we also look at the table and we are in a good position, fighting in the top part of the league.
“But of course we never forget there are historical rivalries — and what it means for supporters.”
Some 2,000 home fans will be allowed in as Spurs host Mikel Arteta’s side.
Asked if this will lift his team, Mourinho said: “Do they want to go to the most beautiful stadium in England and enjoy that?
“Or do they want to go to play the game? If they just want to enjoy the stadium and their passion for football, I don’t think it makes a big difference.
Arsenal chief Mikel Arteta is under pressure of a different sort to rival boss Mourinho as the visitors sit 14th, with five defeats in ten Prem gamesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“But if they want to wear a Tottenham shirt and really play the game with us, that can give a little more motivation and pleasure for us, yes.”
Eric Dier revealed he was ready to quit Spurs before Mourinho moved him to centre-back.
Dier, who signed a four-year deal in July, told the Daily Mail: “I had no desire to be at a club in the last year of my contract.”