Jose Mourinho has stressed that he is not particularly worried about the prospect of facing Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby, claiming that he does not pay too much attention to the sides below Tottenham in the Premier League table. Mourinho’s men currently sit three places and seven points above their bitter rivals, who have endured a torrid domestic campaign to date.
The reverse fixture in December ended in a comfortable 2-0 victory for Spurs, with goals from deadly duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane sealing the bragging rights for the hosts.
Mourinho will be hoping for another successful result on Sunday with his side enjoying a run of five consecutive wins in all competitions.
Arsenal are also in decent form, avoiding defeat in each of their last four matches and coasting to a 3-1 victory against Olympiakos in the Europa League on Thursday.
Although the Gunners appear to have turned a corner since the first derby of the season, Mourinho has suggested that he sees them as a mid-table club to kick off the mind games ahead of the weekend’s clash.
The charismatic Portuguese boss told reporters that Arsenal have not performed well enough to pose an obvious threat to Spurs, who are fully focused on achieving European qualification at the end of the season.
“I look up, I don’t look down,” said Mourinho. “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.”
A win could lift Spurs as high as fifth in the Premier League table, with Mourinho aiming to seal his side’s place in the Europa League, if not the Champions League, again for next season.
The 58-year-old was handed an injury scare during the second half of the win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening, with Kane appearing to pick up a knock after scoring both of Tottenham’s goals.
The England skipper has carried their attacking momentum this season, working excellently alongside Son and more recently Gareth Bale, who has shown flashes of his brilliant best over the last few weeks.
Kane’s absence would undoubtedly be a huge blow for Spurs if he is eventually ruled out of Sunday’s crunch clash, but Mourinho revealed that he is fully expecting his star man to be available.
“I hope so and I believe so, you know, it’s a big match.” he said after the final whistle on Thursday.
“I think only a big problem would stop him from being there, which I don’t think it is, but let’s see the reaction tomorrow but hopefully he’ll be fine.”
Giovani Lo Celso is likely to remain sidelined for Spurs as the Argentine winger continues his recovery from a troublesome back injury.
Meanwhile, Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon are expected to occupy the full-back positions for Mourinho’s side, after Serge Aurier and Ben Davies featured against Zagreb.