Arsenal clash not Tottenham's biggest game, says Alderweireld

The centre-back claims that Spurs have “evolved” so significantly that they do not value the derby clash as highly as they once did

Tottenham’s progress under Mauricio Pochettino means the derby against Arsenal is no longer their biggest game of the year, according to Toby Alderweireld.

Spurs head to Emirates Stadium on Sunday looking for a win that will put them six points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League table and back to within five of leaders Manchester City.

The match comes at the end of a potentially significant week in their season, following last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Chelsea and a vital 1-0 victory against Inter in the Champions League that kept alive their hopes of reaching the last 16.

And Alderweireld thinks Spurs’ standards under Pochettino mean the north London derby is not necessarily their priority any longer.

“It’s a very big game,” he said. “But it was also against Inter and last Saturday as well. That says something about the evolution of Spurs that it’s not the biggest game of the year.

“Sure, it’s a very big game and we know this and we’re going to do everything we can to get three points.

“I think for the last two games, for sure, against very good teams we got to a good level and showed we can compete with everybody. What we can take from these games into the Arsenal game is our attitude, our mentality: always try to press, attack.

“And, if not, we stay compact like [against Inter], don’t concede a lot of chances. We go to win and hopefully we do. And if we do, we go on. And if we don’t, we go on.

“We try to think about our own game and improve because I think our game is improving.”

Midfielder Dele Alli echoed his team-mate’s sentiments by saying there is no team Spurs do not believe they can beat.

“We are in good form and playing well,” Alli, who scored his third goal of the season against Chelsea, told The Mirror.

“Arsenal are in good form and have some top players – but we have this feeling now, at ­Tottenham, that we can beat anyone.”

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