Nuno Espirito Santo says north London derby is more just 'another game'

Watch Arsenal vs Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 4pm - kick-off at 4:30pm; Nuno Espirito Santo taking charge of his first north London derby with Tottenham searching for first league win at Arsenal in 11 years

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Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo says his side's derby clash with Arsenal on Sunday - live on Sky Sports - is more than 'just another game'

Nuno Espirito Santo says Tottenham's clash with Arsenal is more than just "another game" as he prepares for his first north London derby.

The Gunners host Spurs on Sunday - live on Sky Sports - with Nuno's side searching for their first Premier League away win against their rivals in 11 years.

Spurs go into the game on the back of successive 3-0 losses - to Crystal Palace and Chelsea - in the league, and Nuno is hoping his side can give their fans something to cheer by getting back on track at the Emirates.

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He said: "It's not another game - it's a special game for us, for our fans. It's going to be a tough match, but no doubt it's a different game.

"I have many, many situations in derbies. But this is a new one, a tough one and a special one for our fans. If it's special for our fans, it's very special for us.

"We expect a tough match and we have to compete. We have to give everything that we can and play good. Playing good is finding the right balance in our game."

While they have been struggling in the Premier League of late, Spurs did record a shootout victory over Nuno's old side Wolves in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday following a 2-2 draw.

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup third round match between Wolves and Tottenham

The head coach was pleased with what he saw from his players at Molineux, but added: "[There's] lots of aspects that we have to improve - set-pieces, the way we concede, especially with the momentum of the game.

"We were in control, dominant and created so many chances, and we allowed our opponent to get back in the game.

"There are improvements to be made but a lot of positives we can take from the previous game, so let's keep on going."

Spurs' win at Wolves featured goals from Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane, who have both endured mixed starts to the season after seeing their futures at the club come into question over the summer.

Nuno admitted that issues during pre-season, as well as this month's international break, mean his players are at varying levels of "momentum", and called on every member of his squad to show their talent on Sunday.

"We expect every player to improve. I think due to the circumstances that we had - pre-season, during the season, international break - there's a lot of space for improvement," he said.

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Tottenham trained together on Friday as they prepare to face rivals Arsenal in the North London Derby on Sunday

"This is what we expect from all our players. They are in different momentums, each one of them, and we will be careful and try to manage them.

"But we expect all the players to put all the talent and the quality they have as soon as possible."

Nuno revealed Spurs will be able to call on Lucas Moura against Arsenal after he missed their last two games with injury, but says he will be without Steven Bergwijn indefinitely due to the ankle injury he sustained at Rennes last week.

"Steven is not OK, [Ryan] Sessegnon also. But the good news is Lucas has joined the group again," said Nuno.

"The injury he [Bergwijn] has is very painful, so first of all it has to settle down.

"He's not totally stopped - he's doing some fitness, upper body. But we have to be careful with his injury. For now, he's not available."

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A mural of Anthony Joshua has been painted near the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ahead of his world heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night, and the artist Akse hopes it can inspire the local community

Spurs' trip to Arsenal on Sunday is not the only huge sporting event taking place in north London this weekend.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host Anthony Joshua's defence of his world heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night - live on Sky Sports Box Office - with Nuno saying it is a "special moment" for the club.

"It's the first time in our stadium," he added. "Attendance of 66,000 people? That's huge.

"Will [the players] see it? If they want. I will see it if I can."

Nuno's style isn't getting the most out of Kane so far - and Spurs fans will be keen to see more expansive football

By Sky Sports' football expert Alan Smith

I don't think Harry Kane would have enjoyed playing in the left-sided position that he was asked to against Chelsea, that's for certain. It didn't enable him to get in the box.


There are comparisons with Jose Mourinho's first few weeks and months, when a lot of people thought 'he's not going to enjoy playing under Mourinho, he's going to be asked to do a lot of defensive work, they're not going to get the ball forward to him very quickly...' But look at the season he ended up having. It's a bit early to be jumping to conclusions.

It's quite easy and convenient to say, 'well, he wanted to get away so his heart's not in it'. I think any footballer, once they know that they are at a football club for a certain amount of time, will knuckle down and do their best, and I'm sure Kane is doing his best.


But at Wolves Nuno was a cautious coach. At times they weren't the most attractive side to watch. They were mystifying by how negative they were and how much they sat back in first halves of games and then in the second half they opened it up a bit.

Spurs fans traditionally don't want to see that type of football. So is he going to adapt to his new club and his new players and try to get the most out of those forward players, where the strength of Spurs is, with Kane and Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura and the like?

There's a big focus on Nuno to see how he takes the team forward. And if he can get a win in the derby he's going to win over a lot of fans, as Arteta will for Arsenal.

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