Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
(BBC SPORT) Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says he is concerned only with challenging for the Premier League top four, and not North London rivals Arsenal, before their meeting on Sunday.
Mourinho’s side are seven points above the Gunners going into the match at Emirates Stadium.
They have finished above their rivals for the past four seasons.
“I look up, I don’t look down. If Arsenal was seven points ahead of us, I would look to them,” said Mourinho.
“But because we have seven points more than them, I don’t look down.”
Tottenham are seventh in the table and sit five points behind Chelsea, who occupy the Premier League’s fourth and final Champions League place.
They have won their past five games in all competitions by an aggregate score of 15-1, following a 4-1 win against Crystal Palace last weekend and Thursday’s 2-0 Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Dinamo Zagreb.
“We look always to the next match. If instead of Arsenal it was Villa or Newcastle, the next matches we’re going to play [with] exactly the same feeling,” added Mourinho, who has won both his meetings with Arsenal as Spurs manager.
“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 London derby. It’s a Premier League match, three points are there to fight for and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Addressing his history with Arsenal and rivalry with former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger when in charge at Chelsea and Manchester United, Mourinho said: “I want to be respectful, I don’t want to go in that direction.”
He added: “In spite of the rivalry between us and Arsenal I want to be respectful. Arsenal is a big club with a big history, a little bit like us they’re trying to build a better future. I have total respect for them.”
‘Kane totally committed to Tottenham’
Spurs expect to have striker Harry Kane available against Arsenal, despite the England skipper picking up a knock on Thursday.
Kane, 28, scored both goals to put Tottenham in control of their Europa League tie, taking his tally for the season to 26 – already surpassing his goal tally from the past two seasons.
Among Premier League players in all competitions this season, he has scored the most goals and has also made the joint-most assists (16).
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with players with great ambitions, it’s not possible to have a career like mine without players with ambition,” Mourinho said on Kane. “He has that, no doubt he has that. No doubt that of course he wants to win matches, score goals, win trophies.
“[Kane is] totally committed with the club, totally committed with the national team. He’s a top player, he’s a top professional and he’s a great example for everyone.”