Son backs Spurs to respond in derby after ‘unacceptable’ Newcastle loss

<span>Son Heung-min expects his teammates to bounce back from their heavy defeat at St James’ Park.</span><span>Photograph: Richard Lee/Shutterstock</span>
Son Heung-min expects his teammates to bounce back from their heavy defeat at St James’ Park.Photograph: Richard Lee/Shutterstock

Son Heung-min has said that Tottenham have had plenty of time to stew on the “unacceptable” defeat at Newcastle and are ready to show a strong response against Arsenal in Sunday’s derby.

Spurs will not need any extra motivation for the showpiece fixture at home to their local rivals. But Son said the 4-0 loss at Newcastle on the Saturday before last– the club’s heaviest defeat of the season and possibly the worst performance – had been extensively discussed.

Related: Spurs v Arsenal has extra edge but derby mentality may be more key than form | Karen Carney

“It was an unacceptable result and unacceptable performance – as well from me,” Son said. “As a group, we’re talking a lot about this game and performance. Everybody knows how to step up. They’ve all been playing long enough in the Premier League or at a professional team. The motivation will be even higher than in other games so we’ve got to just work hard until the game and do our style of play. Then there’s no doubt we can bounce back.”

The Spurs captain made the point on more than one occasion that his team would play their way; taking risks, building from the back, being proactive and aggressive. It will be interesting to see whether the Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, is pragmatic, looking to sit back a little more and punch on the counter.

The difference between the clubs’ recent schedules is another talking point. Spurs have played only seven matches since 17 February, a consequence of their lack of European football and early cup exits. Arsenal have had four games since Spurs were last in action against Newcastle.

“We’ve had a massive week to prepare for this big game and we’re feeling great,” Son said. “I’m always the type of guy with full confidence going into the games, believing in myself. It’s not important that I scored six goals previously in this game. I just need to be ready for the biggest game of the season.”

After Arsenal, Spurs go to Chelsea and Liverpool and they also host Manchester City in their penultimate game. “It will be a good test for our team,” Son said. “We’re very young and we’re still a little bit inexperienced because we’re building with a young team. Some of them are in their first season in the Premier League.

“We can test ourselves against one of the biggest teams in Europe and the Premier League but also in the world. It’s very important the way we play. Stick to our play, our game. You want to always have good competition and you always want to face the best teams in the world.”