Mauricio Pochettino has admitted Tottenham had a mental block in games against Arsenal when he first arrived at the club.
Spurs had won just four of their previous 36 before Pochettino’s arrival in the summer of 2014. The Argentinian drew his first clash with Arsenal 1-1 at the Emirates before masterminding a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture thanks to Harry Kane’s memorable brace.
Indeed, Tottenham were dominated by Arsenal throughout much of the 1990s and the early 2000s, but they have started to regularly get the better of the Gunners in the Premier League in recent years – especially under Pochettino.
And the Argentinian confesses the mental block Spurs had against their fiercest rivals was something he had to change during his first year in the job.
“Yes, in my first season when I arrived here, it was a problem,” Pochettino told the London Evening Standard.
“But also to play at West Ham, QPR… there were many things to improve. We are at a level now that we believe we can beat any team.
“It is impossible to win every single game but the mentality today is the right one. We have to improve if you want to be a contender in the toughest league in the world but we are in the right way.”
Tottenham will be out for revenge this weekend after losing 4-2 away to Arsenal earlier this season. Pochettino’s men have already earned redemption of sorts, winning 2-0 at the Emirates in an EFL Cup quarter-final in December.
Arsenal can move within a point of Spurs with a win on Saturday, so Spurs simply must win, especially after falling to defeats against Burnley and Chelsea in the last seven days.