London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho says the north London power struggle with Arsenal does not concern him as he is only focused on the teams above Tottenham in the Premier League table.
Spurs head to the Emirates on Sunday seven points ahead of their rivals and on track to finish above them for a fifth successive year.
Mourinho said he was concentrating only on ensuring his side remained in the battle for the top four and not on where the Gunners were in the table.
“I look up, I don’t look down,” he said. “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 (Aston) Villa or Newcastle, the next matches we’re going to play, exactly the same feeling.”
Tottenham, seeking their sixth win in a row in all competitions, are in seventh place, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea but with a game in hand.
Mourinho had an intense rivalry with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger while he was a manager at Chelsea and Manchester United and a new chapter has started since his arrival at Spurs in 2019.
He has won both of his north London derbies as Tottenham boss so far, both at home, but respects Mikel Arteta’s Gunners and what they are trying to achieve.
“In spite of the rivalry between us and Arsenal, I want to be respectful,” he said.
“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.”
Arteta admits his side will come up against one of Europe’s “most special” strike forces at the Emirates.
Spurs moved past a century of goals for the season as Harry Kane scored twice in Thursday’s Europa League round-of-16 first-leg win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Only Bayern Munich have scored more across Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, with Gareth Bale finding a cutting edge to supplement goals from the prolific Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
“It’s very difficult because the level of quality, precision, understanding and chemistry that they have between them makes them probably one of the most special (attacks) in Europe,” said Arteta.
“And they don’t need much. They are able to create their own chances, they are able to link as a team.
“So it is really difficult to do, but we will prepare the game well to try to stop them obviously.”