London: For all the talk of power shifts in north London, Arsenal’s trophy cabinet has been re-stocked more recently than Tottenham Hotspur’s with three FA Cup triumphs since 2014.
That was the year Mauricio Pochettino took over at Tottenham with a plan to turn it into a club capable of challenging for the Premier League and Champions League.
Pochettino’s stock has risen sky high since having taken them to third and second in the league in the last two seasons and into the Champions League for successive campaigns.
Tottenham finished above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years last season, yet the Gunners stole their thunder by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Pochettino will ultimately be judged on winning silverware for a club which, since winning the FA Cup in 1991, has only two League Cup triumphs to celebrate.
Arsenal have won the FA Cup twice since Pochettino has been in charge of Spurs – but the Argentine has higher goals.
“The Premier League and Champions league are a massive challenge for big clubs, these type of trophies are the real trophies,” Pochettino told reporters as he looked ahead to Saturday’s clash with Arsenal at the Emirates.
”For us an it is an important game, a derby, and more than three points. But it’s important to keeping doing well in a long process, important to improve every game, every season and say we can win not only cups but the Premier League and the Champions League. That is the pressure we are building.
“If we can win FA Cup, League Cup – fantastic, but the principal option is to win the Premier League and put Tottenham in position to win the Champions League.”
Saturday’s derby gives Pochettino the chance to win his first north London derby at the Emirates having drawn there in each of the last three seasons.
He is unbeaten in six against Wenger in the league (while at Spurs) and acknowledges that Saturday’s result will inevitably raise questions about whether Tottenham can regularly out-perform the Gunners.
Yet for Pochettino, the inevitable local rivalry should not cloud the bigger picture.
“I don’t care where they are, after three-and-a-half years we’ve achieved a lot. I would like to achieve more; to be first and not second and win cups,” he said.
“But we are in a different process. I admire what Arsene Wenger did at Arsenal, but we are at a different stage.”
Tottenham’s squad, with a young English core of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Harry Winks and Kieran Trippier certainly appears to offer a sustainable future.
Promoting home-grown youngsters into the first-team squad is a matter of pride for Pochettino who was equally impressive on that front while in charge at Southampton.
Arsenal, in stark contrast, had only one British player in their starting lineup for their 3-1 defeat at Manchester City this month – Welshman Aaron Ramsey.
”We believe in English talent,“ Pochettino said. ”Of course we can build a very good core of English players with our identity, coming through our academy. It’s an exciting challenge for us and an exciting philosophy for us to build.
“Yesterday we had eight 16-year-olds training with the first team. When I arrived they would have said that was crazy.”
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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2017 17:28:57 IST