Po­chet­tino: I do not care about Arse­nal

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - PREMIERE LEAGUE - By Jeremy Wil­son at White Hart Lane

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is adamant that he does not care whether he be­comes the first Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager to fin­ish above Arsène Wenger’s Arse­nal and has claimed that there is ex­ces­sive worry around his club about lo­cal supremacy.

De­feat here against Southamp­ton cou­pled with Arse­nal’s draw against Manch­ester City means that Tot­ten­ham must at least draw at New­cas­tle United next Sun­day to guar­an­tee sec­ond place and claim north Lon­don brag­ging rights for the first time since 1995.

Po­chet­tino is the 11th Tot­ten­ham man­ager that Wenger has faced but re­peat­edly stressed yes­ter­day that his am­bi­tions stretched far be­yond sim­ply beat­ing Arse­nal.

“I don’t care about Arse­nal,” said Po­chet­tino. “I want to win the league and be on the top. Arse­nal? I don’t care what hap­pens. We have to try to im­prove and be big­ger and big­ger and big­ger. We need to look at our­selves and not care what hap­pens with our neigh­bours. We need to cre­ate and build our own phi­los­o­phy and ideas and then the con­se­quence is to be above all op­po­nents, not just Arse­nal.”

Po­chet­tino did ac­knowl­edge that the Spurs sup­port­ers cared deeply about sur­pass­ing Arse­nal but be­lieved that the mind­set of his staff and play­ers needed to be dif­fer­ent. “I un­der­stand [the fans],” he said. “It’s nor­mal. It is im­por­tant for them and for us, the same. But we are pro- fes­sional, we need to an­a­lyse things dif­fer­ently and fo­cus on our way. I don’t know what hap­pened in the past be­cause I was not here. There is too much wor­ry­ing about Arse­nal.”

Af­ter the con­ces­sion of what Po­chet­tino deemed “two soft goals” against Southamp­ton, he is de­mand­ing sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment next sea­son. “The way we play is fan­tas­tic but now we need to be more ag­gres­sive,” he said. “We have im­proved from last sea­son but we still need to im­prove if we re­ally want to win the league next sea­son.”

Southamp­ton rose into the top six yes­ter­day, one place above the sev­enth-place fin­ish of last sea­son. “We need one more win,” said man­ager Ron­ald Koe­man. “It was a spe­cial sea­son last sea­son but this will be even more spe­cial.”

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