Jose Mourinho has dismissed Mikel Arteta’s claim that Spurs have an advantage over Arsenal ahead of this weekend’s North London Derby.
Arsenal will play Tottenham on Sunday with both teams looking for three points to keep alive their hopes of finishing in a European qualification spot.
Before then, they face Europa League last-16 ties, with Mourinho’s team taking on Dinamo Zagreb and Arteta’s side facing Olympiacos.
Both teams were drawn to play the away leg away from home first, but UEFA rules state two clubs from the same city are not allowed to play on the same day.
This means that Spurs will now play Zagreb at home on Thursday, while Arsenal face a near-3,000 mile round trip to play in Greece.
Speaking after the decision was made, Arteta said: “We can raise our voices and we should do that because we want to have two teams playing in equal conditions. But the decision has been made and that’s it.
“I don’t want to use one bit of excuse going towards that game saying, ‘oh, they have an advantage’,” he added. “So no, probably I will use that to take it in our advantage. And that’s it.”
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When asked about the situation on Wednesday, Mourinho appeared to have little sympathy for Arteta, and pointed towards a reverse situation when the two teams faced each other earlier this campaign.
“On December 6th we played Arsenal in our stadium,” he said. “On December 3rd they played at home against Rapid Vienna. At the same time we were playing in the ice in Linz against LASK with a late flight that landed back in London at 3am. Was that an advantage to Arsenal?”
Mourinho’s words certainly add a bit of spice to the huge clash, and it remains to be seen if Arteta responds ahead of the game on Sunday.