Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino: Experience does not give Arsenal title advantage

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side host Arsenal on Saturday
Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side host Arsenal on Saturday

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino does not believe Arsenal's experience of challenging for the title gives the Gunners an edge in the race at the top.

Spurs take on their fiercest rivals on Saturday, knowing a win at White Hart Lane would open up a six-point gap over Arsene Wenger's men with only nine Barclays Premier League games left to play.

It could also reduce the lead of Leicester, who are currently three points clear at the summit, as Tottenham look to bounce back from Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat at West Ham.

Arsenal are the only side in the top three to have gone through the highs and lows of a title race in recent seasons, but Pochettino dismissed the theory that experience could be decisive.

"It's difficult to know," the Argentinian said. "If they have players that have the advantage to win the title, what happened against Manchester United or Swansea (on Wednesday night)?

"We are capable of beating Manchester City away. (On Wednesday night) against West Ham was difficult but sometimes we use a lot of topics in football. Football is simple, not too complicated.

"Different clubs sometimes sign a player or a manager with a big background or big trophies behind them. Sometimes they have success and sometimes not.

"You never know. Football is not an ordinary business. Anything can happen."

Tottenham chose not to start midfielder Dele Alli at Upton Park after the 19-year-old sustained an ankle injury in the warm-up against Swansea last weekend.

Alli, however, came on as a substitute against the Hammers and should be fit to face the Gunners, while Mousa Dembele may also feature after recovering from a groin strain.

On whether Alli might start on Saturday, Pochettino said: "Maybe yes. He played (against West Ham) 30 minutes. (On Thursday) he is good but still we need to assess him (on Friday).

"We need to assess Mousa (on Friday) in the last training session. Maybe it is possible he will be selected."

Tottenham's fourth league defeat of the season pales in comparison to the sense of disappointment at Arsenal, who followed up last weekend's limp display at Manchester United with a shock 2-1 loss at home to Swansea in midweek.

Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny are both expected to miss the north London derby through injury, but Pochettino is not thinking about compounding Arsenal's misery.

"For us it is important not to focus on our opponent. We focus on us," the Spurs boss said.

"On Saturday we want the three points for us, not to damage our opponent.

"The more exciting thing is we are capable to win the game, and then maybe we will be in a good position."

Press Association

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