Nuno Espirito Santo is relishing a ‘special game’ as Tottenham travel to face Arsenal in this weekend’s north London derby.
Spurs make the short trip to the Emirates on Sunday looking to bounce back after successive 3-0 league defeats, with Nuno admitting he is expecting a ‘tough match’ as his side take on their biggest rivals this weekend.
“It’s not another game. It’s a special game,” he told his pre-match press conference. “A special game for us, for our fans. It’s going to be a tough match but no doubt, it’s a different game.”
“We expect a tough match and for us, we have to compete, we have to play and compete well. Give everything that we can and play good. Playing good is finding the right balance in our game. Improvements to be made but a lot of positives that we take from the previous games, so let’s keep on going.”
In a total contrast to Spurs, Arsenal have recovered from a disastrous start to the season to win each of their past two fixtures, keeping successive clean sheets against Norwich and Burnley respectively.
Nuno insists he is expecting a difficult test against Mikel Arteta’s side, describing the Gunners as a team with ‘quality players’ throughout the squad.
“They are a good team,” he said. “Good and talented, quality players in the squad. We expect a tough match. Recent weeks better results, this is the assessment we make. We have to try and get the right info to the players to deliver.”
Nuno also discussed Harry Kane’s best position, with the forward having failed to score in his first four Premier League appearances of a season for the first time since 2015/16.
Asked whether the England captain was best suited as a number nine or in a deeper role, the Spurs boss said he is ‘more concerned’ with finding the best balance for his side as a whole.
“I am more concerned, and what I look more, is to try to create the best for the team and what we want is to create a possibility that our players work well on the positions that they feel more comfortable,” he said. “But it’s up to the team too. And what we are looking at is how can we build and improve the team, so all our players feel natural to play in the best positions that they can do it.”
Having angled for a move to Man City in the summer, Kane’s form has come into question following lacklustre showings against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, though Nuno believes his side are showing signs of improvement and is confident Spurs can continue to progress this weekend.
“I think that we are improving. We are improving. We have a lot of problems, and situations to improve and get better. Because of mistakes that we made. But the recent performance, in terms of our football, is getting much, much better. So I’m confident that we can get much better yet.”
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Author: Harry Diamond