Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho insists he is ‘not looking down’ at Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.
Spurs are seven points above the 10th-placed Gunners after 27 games as they look to make a late push for a top four spot.
A win for Spurs would go a long way to ensuring they finish above their neighbours for a fifth successive year.
But Mourinho insists he is not worried about that, and has taken little notice of Arsenal because they are below them in the table.
He said: “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.
“But at the same time, we look always to the next match. And if instead of Arsenal it was Villa or Newcastle, the next matches we’re going to play, 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 London derby – in fact it’s the fourth in a row in the Premier League.
“It’s a Premier League match, three points are there to fight for and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
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Mourinho has a long history with Arsenal and had some memorable clashes with Arsene Wenger, whom he lost to just twice in 19 matches.
But the 58-year-old holds Arsenal and Mikel Arteta in high regard.
He said: “I want to be respectful, I don’t want to go in that direction.
“I’m very proud to be at Tottenham, I have the feeling every day that I work at a big club. But in spite of the rivalry between us and Arsenal I want to be respectful.
“Arsenal is a big club with a big history, a little bit like us they’re trying to build a better future. I have total respect for them.”
Mourinho is expecting to have Harry Kane available, despite the England captain being pictured with an ice pack on his knee during Thursday’s 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League last-16.
And the former Chelsea boss has had nothing but praise for Kane’s mentality.
He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to work with players with great ambitions, it’s not possible to have a career like mine without players with ambition.
“He has that, no doubt he has that. No doubt that of course he wants to win matches, score goals, win trophies.
“Totally committed with the club, totally committed with the national team.
“He’s a very good example of a top professional and a top player. Sometimes top players are not always top professionals, and vice-versa. He’s a top player, he’s a top professional and he’s a great example for everyone.”
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