Xenia Sports – London
Jose Mourinho does not expect Tottenham to be complacent in Sunday’s north London derby despite the mixed recent form of rivals Arsenal.
The Portuguese manager criticised members of his squad following the 3-3 draw with LASK on Thursday.
He believes some have lacked motivation during the Europa League group stages, but there will be no shortage of incentive this weekend when Mikel Arteta’s team travel to N17.
While the Gunners are 14th in the Premier League, eight points behind leaders Spurs, it was only back in August when they triumphed twice at Wembley to clinch silverware under their new manager.
“I think everybody knows what Arsenal did recently, the way they beat Chelsea and (Manchester) City to win the FA Cup,” Mourinho said.
“The way they played in Liverpool in spite of defeat, the way they beat United at Old Trafford, the way they normally play against the top teams.
“The number of players they use in the defensive process, the way they go in fast counter-attacks and fast transitions. I don’t think I need to (warn the players about complacency).
“But probably I will, but I don’t think we need that. We all know that a derby is nothing to do with form, momentum, injuries, suspensions. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s just Tottenham v Arsenal.”
Fans will be back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time in nine months when Arsenal visit on Sunday.
Only 2,000 spectators will be allowed in due to the coronavirus pandemic and with London placed in tier two.
Those teams playing in tier three are not able to let supporters in, which has resulted in both Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa and Newcastle boss Steve Bruce criticizing the decision of the Government to regionalize the return of fans.
Mourinho admitted: “I can understand their position but at the same time the situation is so difficult and so frustrating for everybody that I believe we have to accept all these things for the good of football, the good of people’s happiness and the perspective of ‘this is going to change for the better’.”
Asked if the backing of the Spurs crowd could lift his players, Mourinho pointed out it would rely on which type of supporter was there.
“It depends on the fans, their profile, the way people will face the game,” the 57-year-old 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 want to enjoy the stadium and their passion for football, I don’t think it makes a big difference.
“If they want to go there and play, wear a Tottenham shirt and play the game, that can give a little more motivation and pleasure for us, yes.”