“We don’t need to speak too much,” said Mauricio Pochettino before the team’s final training session this morning (Friday, March 4) ahead of a game being billed as one of the biggest derbies ever. “The players know what it means.”
The eyes of the footballing world are certainly focusing on N17 as second meets third in a 12.45pm kick-off in the Premier League at White Hart Lane.
Is this a good game for us after this week’s loss at West Ham?
Mauricio: “It’s always a good game - now, before or after! All that matters now is what this game means. It’s a tough game, Arsenal are a very good team but we are sure that we will arrive in a very good condition to compete.”
What have the players said after West Ham?
Mauricio: “We’ve had some meetings and it’s important to realise we need to improve. It’s true we had some difficulties but we’ll improve from that and we’ll be ready for tomorrow, another big derby and another important game in our stadium.”
Below: Mauricio speaks to Spurs TV on Friday morning
What do you love about this derby?
Mauricio: “It’s a real derby, Tottenham-Arsenal. I’m excited and very motivated for tomorrow and I can feel that the players and staff are excited. We’re in a good period and we need to keep the momentum. I’m sure our supporters will be brilliant again, just like they were against Swansea.”
A lot is being said about Arsenal - what do you make of them?
Mauricio: “For me, this is a very good team, a great manager, very good players. It’s always tough to play against them and we expect a difficult game, but this derby is always difficult for us and for them.”
What have you said to the players ahead of the game?
Mauricio: “We don’t need to speak too much. They know what it means. It’s true that we need to be clear how to play and we have a clear idea of how we need to play. Now, more than motivate, we try to inspire them, to be confident in their skills. The energy is fantastic and we need to enjoy it and be free in our minds. We all know what it means to play in this derby. It’s easy to prepare for this game.”
As you’ve already said, the fans will play their part and there is a real belief in the stadium…
Mauricio: “I feel the people believe in us and we believe in ourselves and this is an important thing. It’s very important for the players when the fans translate that energy.”