Jose Mourinho has aimed a sly dig at Arsenal ahead of Tottenham’s derby date with their north London neighbours on Sunday, with the Portuguese eager to point out that he does not “look down” the table.
Spurs are set to make the short trip to Emirates Stadium sat three places and seven points above their fiercest rivals in the Premier League standings.
Mourinho intends to at least maintain that advantage during a meeting with Mikel Arteta’s side, with the focus from all of those at his disposal locked on staging a late push for a top-four finish.
What has been said?
Mourinho told reporters when quizzed on the respective fortunes of two old adversaries heading into their latest rekindling of a long-running rivalry: “I look up, I don’t look down.
“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.”
Mourinho’s record against Arsenal
The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager has tended to fare well in meetings with the Gunners down the years.
In 22 total clashes with Arsenal, Mourinho has emerged victorious on 12 occasions and suffered only two defeats.
His touchline battles with Arsene Wenger could always be relied upon to provide plenty of entertainment, but both men have mellowed with age and a legendary Frenchman has been out of management since 2018.
Mourinho insists he is calmer than he was, with results all that matter to him despite still being partial to the odd bout of mind games.
“I want to be respectful,” added the 58-year-old. “I am very proud to be at Tottenham. I have the feeling every day that I work at a big cub.
“Arsenal is a big club with a big history. A little bit like us, they're trying to build a better future.”