Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham now have far bigger fish to fry than finishing above Arsenal.
Spurs’ 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night kept their title hopes alive by cutting the gap to leaders Chelsea back to four points.
Tottenham can guarantee they end the season above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years – and put an end to the ‘St Totteringham’s Day’ jibes – if they beat their fierce rivals at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
But Pochettino, the coach who earned his managerial Spurs against Palace, stoked up the heat ahead of the north London derby by saying the days of Spurs being concerned about finishing higher than the Gunners are now behind them.
“That is no motivation, and no distraction,” said the Tottenham boss.
“What happens at the end of the season, we will see. Our focus is trying to win. We are not thinking to be above Arsenal, our challenge is to reduce the gap with Chelsea and think of bigger things than only to be above Arsenal.
“One day to achieve big trophies, you must be mentally bigger. You must think about bigger dreams.”
Spurs needed a late Christian Eriksen goal to sink Palace, the Dane cracking home a 30-yard drive with 12 minutes remaining.
Tottenham had previously endured a tough few days, losing the FA Cup semi-final to the Blues on Saturday before Antonio Conte’s side beat Southampton 4-2 to stay in control at the top.
“I think it was an important victory for us in a very tough game, a game against a team in good form,” added Pochettino.
“We showed great character and personality after a disappointing weekend.”