Mauricio Pochettino is not motivated by delivering an inverted ‘St Totteringham’s Day’, as he would if Tottenham were to beat Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.
‘St Totteringham’s Day’ is the name given by some Arsenal fans to the point of the season at which it becomes mathematically impossible for Spurs to catch Arsenal. Spurs, of course, have finished behind Arsenal for the last 22 straight league seasons.
But if Spurs win at White Hart Lane on Sunday then they will move 17 points ahead of Arsene Wenger’s side. Arsenal would only have five games left, leaving them with no mathematical chance of finishing ahead of Spurs. The last time this happened was the 1994-95 season, when Arsenal were hit by the George Graham scandal and finished back in 12th.
So how much would Pochettino like to deliver the anti-Totteringham’s day this weekend, for the first time in the lives of many Spurs fans? Not much.
“For me it is not a motivation,” Pochettino dead-panned at his press conference on Friday afternoon. “The motivation for me is to win. It’s a derby and I know what it means to play a derby. But that’s not a motivation. My motivation is to win, to win with Tottenham some titles, to improve and be better every day.”
It remains to be seen what name Tottenham fans would give to their equivalent of ‘St Totteringham’s Day’, if such a thing were to happen, but Pochettino did not some especially exercised by the prospect.
“I really don’t care about that celebration,” Pochettino said. “My English is so bad I don’t read or listen too much. We are here to help the club to achieve things to be better every day and every season. Of course, we want to win and we’re focused on that, and not on other things.”
Pochettino re-iterated his comments from Wednesday night, after Spurs beat Crystal Palace 1-0, that they want to win the Premier League rather than simply finishing ahead of their local rivals.
“My challenge and my aim is not to be above Arsenal,” Pochettino said. “My challenge and my aim is to be above 19 teams and be on the top. That is my challenge, my aim, my dream. I don’t care what happens with Arsenal, with all my respect. What I care is what happens with us. That’s our big, big challenge at Tottenham.”