Paulinho can’t wait for Brazilians to collide in London derby
Paulinho insists there is a friendly rivalry between the Brazilian players of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, ahead of their clash on Saturday.
The two sides have a number of Seleção players at their disposal. Paulinho aside, Spurs can call on Sandro and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, while Chelsea boast David Luiz, Ramires, Oscar and Willian.
Paulinho, 25, admits that he is close with The Blues’ South American contingent, but that will be put aside for 90 minutes at White Hart Lane.
"There is a level of affection there, a friendship between us all," he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, as reported by Sky Sports. "But when we step onto the field of play we are there to defend ourselves and defend our team so I will be there fighting for Tottenham Hotspur.
"It's a big match here in London, and in Brazil, where many people will watch, and it's important for us, as a stepping stone also to win more games.
"We faced Arsenal and did not get the result we wanted [a 1-0 defeat]. But we are going down the right path so it's great to have this opportunity to play against Chelsea in order to prove our level.
"Within the club we know our ability and this will start with this match against Chelsea."
The Brazilian international - capped 20 times - insists Spurs’ first objective is a top four finish, while he refuses to rule out a push for the Premier League title.
"The main challenge that he put forward was qualifying for the Champions League and fighting for the Premier League," he continued.
"After that there are the cups - either in England or in Europe.
"Tottenham are a team that is going to enter these competitions to win them. Step by step we are reaching that level."
Paulinho has settled quickly since arriving at Tottenham for £17 million from Corinthians in the summer. He netted a last minute winner against Cardiff City on Sunday and has started all five of Spurs’ Premier League matches, with the London club positioned joint top alongside rivals Arsenal.