Mourinho sounds warning to high-flying Spurs ahead of Arsenal showdown

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Jose Mourinho has warned Tottenham their lofty Premier League position will count for nothing when they tackle Arsenal in Sunday's north London derby.

Spurs sit top of the table, although they could be usurped by Chelsea before taking on Mikel Arteta's men at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

With the Gunners languishing in 14th, the hosts – who are unbeaten in six home league games against their bitter rivals – are clear favourites.

But Mourinho claimed form goes out of the window when it comes to such fixtures.

"It's always a good moment to play Arsenal and it's always a bad moment," he said, having never lost a home game against the Gunners in 10 previous such meetings in all competitions.

"It's always a good moment because it motivates – when you play against a big club, you are motivated.

"I did it with Chelsea and Manchester United, I did it also of course with Tottenham, and it's always a good moment because of the rivalry between the two clubs. It becomes even more beautiful to play. 

"And it's always a bad moment because they are a good team and in these matches the table doesn't say anything, the previous results don't say anything.

"So, it's good, it's bad; it is what it is."

Spurs laboured to a 3-3 Europa League draw at LASK on Thursday, with Harry Kane missing in one of eight changes from the goalless draw with Chelsea.

Mourinho hopes to have his talisman available, with Kane having netted 10 goals against Arsenal, needing one more to become the highest goalscorer in this fixture.

But even with the England star in the team, Mourinho knows his side – whose nine-match unbeaten streak is the longest ongoing run in the top flight – must guard against complacency.

"I think everybody knows what Arsenal did recently," he said. "The way they beat Chelsea and Manchester City to win the FA cup, the way they played in Liverpool in spite of defeat, the way they beat United at Old Trafford, the way they normally play against the top teams, the number of players they use in a defensive process, the way they go in fast counter-attacks and fast transitions.

"I don't think I need to [warn my players about complacency] but probably I will. We all know that a derby is a big match and is nothing to do with form, with momentum with injuries, with suspensions – it's nothing to do with that, it's just Tottenham versus Arsenal."

Arsenal have only lost back-to-back Premier League games against Tottenham twice (in May 1993 and November 2010) and this is the lowest they have sat in the table heading into a north London derby since August 1993, when they were 21st before claiming a 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane.

Spurs' new stadium will welcome 2,000 fans after national lockdown measures were lifted in England, although the regional tier restrictions mean not all clubs can host supporters.

That has led some to complain about an unfair advantage for those clubs that can have the backing of their fans, but Mourinho believes everyone should see the positives after a long spell of football being played exclusively behind closed doors.

"I can understand their position but at the same time the situation is so difficult and so frustrating for everybody," he said.

"I believe we have to accept all these kinds of things for the good of football, for the good of the people, happiness, for the perspective of this is going to change for the better. We have to adapt."

Having won his first derby match at the helm – a 2-1 home victory in July – Mourinho is aiming to become only the second Spurs boss to win both of his opening two games against Arsenal, with Jimmy Anderson having done so in the 1955-56 campaign.

The 57-year-old's record against Arsenal in the Premier League across his career is exceptional, having suffered just one defeat in 17 matches, although eight of those games have ended in draws.