Jose Mourinho has told Tottenham fans they can rely on him to to show the same passion they possess ahead of his first north London derby as Spurs manager.
Despite losing just once – a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United – Tottenham have looked lacklustre since the Premier League restart. Meanwhile, Arsenal have picked up under Mikel Arteta and go into Sunday’s clash above Spurs in the table.
This will be Mourinho’s first taste of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs, but the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan boss insists he shares the fans’ passion when it comes to the derby – something he has experienced before in battles against Barcelona and AC Milan.
“When I am in a club, I like to be one of them and I like to feel what my people feel,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “It’s a new feeling for me when I move from club to club, but I learn that feeling very, very fast. I would say that the moment I put my foot in a club for the first time, I learn it automatically.
“So yes, I am one of them. In this case, one of us, which is Tottenham people. What is important for the fans is important for me.
“When I go to a derby as Inter manager, I know what it means for them. When I go as Real Madrid manager, I know what it means for them. And when I go as Tottenham manager, I know what it means for them.
“They can count on me to have exactly the same feelings, the same desire and the same passion that they have. When you are a player or a coach of a certain team, it cannot just be a job for you. You must have a sense of duty and a responsibility towards the people who love your club.
“For me, my club, my passion, my love, is the club where I am. In this moment, if you ask me if I know how important it is for Tottenham fans to look at their biggest rivals, then of course I know it and of course I share it.”
Except for the Sheffield United loss, Spurs have proved their mentality is not completely shot with some resolute defensive performances. But a lack of fluidity in attack has been a real problem.
Even if Mourinho extracts the required level of passion and desire from his players on Sunday, it will be of little use if the accuracy and movement in final third remains substandard.