Football manager is a ruthless job so you'd expect some degree of self-preservation in his thinking.
But the short-termism of what he's said there is way over the top. If that's how he thinks it's no surprise that the teams he's managed have never been better than above-average.
If we were still relegation threatened of course a certain amount of pragmatism should be expected. But we're not.
I agree with your point, although could be argued all the sides he has ever managed have been in or around the high pressure end of the table so it's all he's ever known, so it shouldn't come as any surprise.
EDIT: The fact I'm trying my best not to talk about the game on a match thread tells it's own story. They're going to equalise anyway and it'll end a draw. Nothing more certain