Jose Mourinho rejects claims that Tottenham have an unfair advantage on Arsenal ahead of north London derby after rivals had Europa League tie switched to Greece… as he says Spurs played ‘in the ice’ in Austria just days before they last met
- Arsenal face rivals Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday afternoon
- UEFA have moved the first leg of Gunners’ last-16 Europa League tie to Greece
- Mikel Arteta’s men were drawn to play at home on the same night as Tottenham
- Jose Mourinho pointed out that the roles were reversed before the first derby
- The Spurs boss will make changes for his side’s first leg against Dinamo Zagreb
Jose Mourinho has hit back at claims that the Europa League fixture reshuffle offers Tottenham an unfair advantage in the north London derby.
Both Spurs and Arsenal were drawn to play the first leg of their last-16 ties at home but Mikel Arteta’s team were ordered to switch by UEFA, despite the games being played behind closed doors.
The Gunners face a 3,000-mile round trip to Greece for the away leg against Olympiacos on Thursday as Mourinho’s side stay in London to entertain Dinamo Zagreb.
Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham do not have an unfair advantage on rivals Arsenal this week
Harry Kane scored Spurs’ second goal in a 2-0 win against Arsenal when they met in December
Season at a glance
Tottenham take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday but the Spurs boss was quick to point out the advantage was reversed when the rivals met three months ago.
‘On 6 December we played against Arsenal in our stadium,’ said Mourinho. ‘On 3 December Arsenal played at home against Rapid Vienna.
‘At the same time we were playing in the ice in Linz against LASK Linz. We landed in London at 3am. Was that an advantage for Arsenal?’
Mourinho promised changes for the visit of Dinamo Zagreb, although Giovani Lo Celso is still not ready to play.
Lo Celso has recovered from a hamstring injury but is feeling discomfort in his back.
‘Gio is not ready,’ said Mourinho. ‘Apart from that every player is selected. As you know we can have two extra players on the Europa League bench and everybody is selected and everybody is fit.
Mikel Arteta must take his Arsenal squad to Greece this week after UEFA moved their first leg
‘Am I going to repeat the same team that played against Crystal Palace? No, I’m going to make a few changes. But the team is working very well, everybody is training hard, everybody is pushing to play.
‘So for me it doesn’t matter who is playing as our team is going to be strong.
‘We are not going to prioritise competitions. We play two competitions plus the (Carabao Cup) final and we are going to try and be strong in every one.
Giovani Lo Celso will not be fit to face Dinamo Zagreb despite recovering from hamstring issue
‘The next match is always the most important match. I am not thinking about the Arsenal match, I am thinking about this one.
‘We are going to make changes the same way we made changes between the Fulham match and Crystal Palace match. The team is playing well, the team is winning. You could think no changes, but we do change.
‘We do change because we trust the players, the level is very high.’
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