Wembley woes bringing Spurs boss Pochettino down before Stoke clash

Mauricio Pochettino admits Wembley is playing havoc with Tottenham’s title chances as their opponents are doubly motivated at the national stadium.

Spurs face Stoke at their temporary home on Saturday before hosting Brighton next week and they can ill afford to lose further ground in the race for the top four.

But Pochettino’s men have proven to be vulnerable at Wembley this season.

They have taken only 12 points from a possible 21 there in the Premier League, a record that has included draws with Burnley, Swansea and West Brom.

“To play again in your home always is much better than to play how we are playing now,” Pochettino said. “It is so important how the opponent sees Wembley – that it is fantastic to play at Wembley.

“It is not to blame Wembley or an excuse.

“But when opponents come to Wembley to play it is an historic day. For many clubs it is difficult to play at Wembley but today it is easy because you come in the Premier League.

“That is a massive motivation for the opponent. That is an extra charge for us because not only are you competing with the opponent but with their massive motivation too.

“The new stadium will help the club a lot. We cannot wait to play there and make it our home and be strong there. What we are working on we are going to capitalise on in the next few years for sure.”

Tottenham have managed only one league victory from their last six matches, a slump that has left them 18 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City and four adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool.

A 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia at Wembley in the Champions League on Wednesday, however, could help turn the tide and Pochettino believes all the top teams will endure dips this season.

“For us it’s happened now,” Pochettino said. “I hope Apoel has changed the dynamic but for every club you have periods where you struggle.

“To keep the same level for 10 months is so difficult for a group of players. We have a strong squad with enough quality. We trust in ourselves. It is possible we have changed the dynamic and I hope after Apoel we can start to win games.”

Pochettino was also asked about the possibility of bringing Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale back to Spurs in the future.

“I saw him in Madrid when we played there,” Pochettino said.

“Always he keeps in contact with the people here that he worked with in the past. But then I don’t know because I don’t have a close relationship with him or his people.

“Of course he is a fantastic player and you never know in football what can happen.”

Defender Davinson Sanchez is suspended for the visit of Stoke following his red card against Watford last weekend.

Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama remain out with respective hamstring and knee injuries.

Source: PA

Published at Fri, 08 Dec 2017 15:24:05 +0000