Pochettino changed Tottenham’s mentality regarding Arsenal rivalry, says Lloris
PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 May 2019
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Spurs finished above their local rivals for a third straight season, but not much was made of it – even from the fans
Hugo Lloris believes Mauricio Pochettino's arrival at Tottenham Hotspur helped the club shift their focus to bigger achievements, not merely finishing above rivals Arsenal.
The Gunners had held bragging rights in north London for a long while, but Spurs finally came above them in the 2016/17 campaign.
It ended a run of 21 consecutive seasons where Arsenal had been above the Lilywhites despite some close shaves.
During Pochettino's second campaign in charge, Tottenham looked all set to finish above, at the time, Arsene Wenger's team heading into the final day, but a 5-1 loss at Newcastle United saw 'St Totteringham's Day' happen again.
A year later, in the 2016/17 season, when Spurs were finally above the old enemy again, it was something to celebrate, but since then it has rarely received a murmur from either the players or boss Pochettino.
It went to the last day this term, but Tottenham got the point they needed to come fourth and be above Arsenal for a third consecutive campaign.
Captain Lloris told this title: "We are thinking about our ourselves. We don't look at that type of thing.
"It probably can satisfy some people, but it's not the case for us. From the first day the gaffer arrived, we always wanted to build something strong, to be competitive in Premier League and even in European competition.
"This is what we're doing step-by-step. The target is still the same; to reduce the gap with the best clubs in Europe and I think we're going in the right way."
For so long, Tottenham's goal of the season was to be above Arsenal, who had enjoyed a huge amount of success at the end of the 1990s and starts of the 2000s.
It contributed to why Spurs felt so hurt at the end of the 2005/06 campaign - not only had they missed out on Champions League qualification following a final-day defeat at West Ham United, it resulted in the Gunners going above them and coming fourth.
However, Pochettino has changed the club's mindset and now the aim is challenging for the title and winning big competitions which has culminated in Tottenham reaching a first ever European Cup final this season.
Lloris added: "It's like in life. You don't have to look at your neighbour and compare with your neighbour.
"You need to think about yourself and be focused on yourself to make a success of your life and develop and improve as a person and a professional.
"This is what we've done and we don't want to stop. We want to carry on in the same way. It's the perfect example.
"Every person tries to develop themselves and the best way is to be focused on yourself and not your neighbour."
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