Jose Mourinho has called on his Spurs side to be a ‘reflection’ of himself ahead of today’s potentially pivotal North London derby.
Spurs host their local rivals this afternoon in a game which is likely to have great significance on whether either side will be playing European football next season, both sides currently sitting eighth and tenth and separated by just a point.
Both sides have endured wildly inconsistent seasons to leave them well short of what is usually expected, Spurs winning just two of their games since football’s return to action last month, seeing them slide 10 points adrift of the top four.
Their last outing, a 0-0 draw with relegation-threatened Bournemouth saw Jose Mourinho’s side fail to register a single shot on target, while the Portuguese admitted he was ‘disturbed’ by the lack of passion and desire during their 3-1 capitulation at the hands of Sheffield United.
“I want the team to be a reflection of what the coach is. When that happens, that’s when you feel, ‘This is really my team.’
“This is something that is not a finger click. It’s a process. But if you have that feeling that it is your team even when you lose matches – because you will always lose matches – then that is when you are really happy.”
The story of both side’s seasons is strangely similar, both having started poorly and feeling the need to replace their managers back in November.
Mourinho feels his Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta will be feeling positive about his side’s prospects after a recent upturn in results, the Gunners coming into the game on a five game unbeaten run.
“I think it’s a similar process to us,” Mourinho said. “A coach that comes mid-season, trying to do things now that help the team to get a position in the table but that he can also transfer to the next season.
“So when they change system, when they go with four at the back or five, when they go with two in the middle or three, when they go with [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang as a nine or on the left, I think it’s a normal process of a team in this situation.
“Lately, they have found a way of playing that has given them very good results and I think this is the kind of feeling that a manager likes to have, because then probably the manager says, ‘Okay, this is working and it’s something that I must keep for the future.’ I think you have to look to the future and that’s what we are all doing.”