CompetitionsPremier League

Mikel Arteta admires ‘unique character’ Jose Mourinho before north London derby

Xenia Sports – London 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes he will be coming up against a “unique character” in Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho on Sunday.

The first north London derby of the season takes place in front of 2,000 supporters at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs go into the game nine points clear of their neighbours after making a fine start to the campaign.

Mourinho, who has lost just twice to Arsenal in 21 matches against them and was victorious in his first north London derby clash last season, has been drawing praise for the attacking prowess on show in his team.

Arteta has already admitted his side will be facing one of Europe’s most potent forward lines, while the Spaniard will also be taking on Mourinho in a tactical battle.

“I know him well,” Arteta replied when asked about Mourinho.

“We spent some time together in Barcelona and obviously we’ve played against each other a million times.

“I admire him, I think what he’s done in the game is incredible, it’s remarkable.

“He has a unique character and personality. He’s someone that I think in football we have to appreciate and admire.

“Me, as a young coach, I know what it takes to be sitting where we are and the way he’s done it in different countries takes a lot of guts.

“He’s brave and then he has an edge to be able to transmit a mentality to everyone to keep winning. That mentality for me is what makes him really special.”

Toby Alderweireld’s late header decided the last meeting in Tottenham’s favour as Arteta’s first taste of managing in the derby ended in a 2-1 defeat.

“This is why we are here, to play these types of games,” added Arteta, whose side have lost half of their 10 Premier League fixtures this season.

“If you ask me my favourite types of games when I was a player here, for sure I’ll tell you it’s the north London derby.

“It’s a unique atmosphere, it’s a lot of passion and feelings involved. Emotionally, it’s a special game.

“When you win it, you know the satisfaction that you bring to people, which is very necessary in these moments when people are suffering and having difficult times.

“We have that ability to make people happy, so let’s give everything to try to bring that to them.”

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