EXCLUSIVE: Mauricio Pochettino says poor form counts for NOTHING against Arsenal

first_imgTottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side’s run of poor form will count for nothing when they take on north London rivals Arsenal on Sunday.Listen LIVE to exclusive national radio coverage of Arsenal v Tottenham on Sunday with talkSPORT.Spurs are without a win in their last six games across all competitions and arrive into the local derby having suffered another disappointing Champions League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.But Pochettino feels that his players will relish the challenge of facing an in-form Arsenal at the Emirates.Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT’s Paul Hawksbee, the Spurs boss said: “I always like a tough game and when you play this type of game. From my point of view, it doesn’t matter what type of moment you’re in when it’s a derby, and you’re focusing on beating your enemy.”Harry Kane has been included in the squad after returning from an ankle injury, which has kept the England international out of action for more than six weeks.Spurs have enjoyed mixed success during his absence, with Heung-min Son and Vincent Janssen contributing three goals between them across five league games, picking up two league wins in the process.And Pochettino fears his forward options are feeling the strain of replacing the club’s leading goal scorer for the past two seasons.“It’s about the mental state in a bad moment. When you’re in the last third you are a little bit scared – because football is about emotion – and when the emotion is not right, you always try to think too much.“It’s not about the thinking in football; it’s about how you act, behaving spontaneously and believing in your skill. We are in a moment where we try to think too much and try to do the right things, the right actions, and find the right positions to score.“In football, [you] must anticipate the action of the opponent and in the last third we need to be more spontaneous and not think too much.”During his time in LaLiga, Pochettino oversaw three derbies against Barcelona while he was the manager of Espanyol. Against the odds, Pochettino enjoyed relative success against the Catalan giants, losing only once in the league.Pochettino has yet to suffer defeat against Arsenal in the top flight with Spurs and feels his side can compete with their north London neighbours for major honours.“Tottenham is a massive club, one of the biggest clubs in England,” Pochettino said.“You can feel we are in the same level – it’s completely different. For me, not only because I am now the Tottenham manager, I can feel our fans are behind us and it is unbelievable. It’s a massive club; you can appreciate that in Wembley with 85,000 people there.Back in 2006, Arsenal and Tottenham contested one of the most keenly fought derbies in recent memory as the then Spurs manager, Martin Jol, and Arsene Wenger almost came to blows on the touchline.The two sides were involved in a race to qualify for the Champions League as Spurs threatened to shake up Arsenal’s hold on north London. The Gunners eventually pipped Spurs to fourth place, but the sides have gone onto enjoy a much closer rivalry since that season.But Pochettino declared his admiration for Wenger ahead of the clash on Sunday and believes a respectful rivalry is a healthy one.“We have a very good relationship – not friendly – but I respect him a lot. We have a very good relationship with Arsene and his coaching staff, very cordial, we respect each other and that’s a very good thing.”last_img

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