Mauricio Pochettino has admitted Tottenham had a mental block in facing Arsenal when he arrived and claimed they now believe they can beat any team in the Premier League.
Saturday’s derby is a crucial clash for two sides in pursuit of a top-four finish, with the Gunners able to move to within one point of their rivals, who are third, with a victory at Wembley.
Spurs were beaten in their last two League games but will start the match as favourites, having not lost a top-flight encounter at home against the Gunners since Pochettino took charge in the summer of 2014.
Prior to Pochettino’s appointment, Tottenham had won just four of their previous 36 games with Arsenal and when asked whether there was a psychological issue within the squad he had to overcome, the Argentine told Standard Sport: “Yes, in my first season when I arrived here, it was a problem.
“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.”
Spurs are struggling to keep pace with title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City following successive defeats against Burnley and Chelsea but after picking up the Manager of the Year prize at the London Football Awards on Thursday, Pochettino urged supporters to look at the bigger picture.
“Maybe in the last few days, after two defeats the people are disappointed but we need to see things in perspective,” he said.
“It is so important to know who we are, from where we came and all the difficult things that happened in the last few years. Many things should be different today but for different reasons aren’t. I am so happy with my team, my club, because we are doing a massive effort to finish all the goals we have.
“We are working for that and, of course, it is an exciting moment for Tottenham. The future is going to be great but now is a period that demands a lot of work, a lot of concentration and focus in many things. We need to spend more energy than usually you spend.”