Pochettino: I do not care about Arsenal
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.”