By Coral Barry
Mauricio Pochettino should not be so quick to dismiss Tottenham supporters’ obsession with Arsenal, according to Danny Murphy.
The Spurs manager urged his players and the Tottenham faithful to forget about Arsenal and to stop putting so much mental energy into finishing about their arch rivals after the 2-1 defeat to Southampton on Sunday put the Gunners within two points of his side.
Tottenham’s season has reached a disappointing end, but after Leicester lifted the Premier League title, attention has switched to ensuring Spurs end the season higher in the table than their city rivals for the first time since 1995.
Pochettino was dismissive of the question posed to him after the Saints loss about the importance of finishing above Arsenal, but Murphy believes the Spurs manager should tread carefully when it comes to downplaying the rivalry between the two sets of fans.
“It makes sense to me, but sometimes you have to toe the line with the supporters,” said Murphy speaking on Match of the Day 2. “You can say that in the dressing room to the lads and say ‘listen, this is our agenda’, but sometimes you need to keep the fans on board and say ‘we’ll finish higher than Arsenal’.
“They’ve been rivals for many, many years, so it’s a delicate issue. Listen, I like his desire, I like his focus and his single-mindedness. He’s had a great season.”
A double from Steven Davies for Saints has put Tottenham’s second place finish in doubt, with Arsenal snapping at their heels after their 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
Tottenham know they must go to St James’ Park to face Newcastle on Sunday and take away all three points to secure the runners-up position.
Despite Murphy’s reservations about Pochettino’s comments, Jermaine Jenas was delighted to hear such words from the Spurs manager.
Jenas, who spent eight years at White Hart Lane as a player, welcomed Pochettino’s viewpoint and admitted it was time for Tottenham players to begin to think of themselves as the ones at the bigger club.
The former midfielder said: “100%, I love to hear that from him.
“In my time at the club, I know that our ambitions were always just to reach the top four.
“That’s what was driven into you as a player. For him to say that, it speaks volumes.”
In other Tottenham news, Spurs are ready to splash out £8million on a Championship star.