Mauricio Pochettino confident Wembley will not snag Tottenham Hotspurs’ style

Tottenham Hotspurs decided to shift the stadium as White Hart Lane has a reduced capacity owing to building work on an adjacent new ground.

By: Reuters | London | Published:September 14, 2016 3:49 pm
champions league, uefa champions league, tottenham hotspurs, tottenham, spurs, wembley, wembley stadium, football news, football Tottenham Hotspurs have opted to play their European home games at the 90,000-seater Wembley stadium this season. (Source: AP)

Tottenham Hotspur have been training on a larger than normal pitch to prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League Group E opener against Monaco at their adopted Wembley Stadium home.

The Premier League club have opted to play their European home games at the 90,000-seater national stadium this season as their White Hart Lane ground has a reduced capacity owing to building work on an adjacent new ground.

More than 80,000 tickets have been sold for the club’s first match back in the competition for five years.

But while the fans have had more chance to buy tickets, Wembley’s pitch is significantly bigger than Tottenham’s usual home turf, a potential problem as Mauricio Pochettino’s players try to stick to their usual high pressing game.

“We feel good at White Hart Lane because it’s our home and we need to feel good at Wembley,” Pochettino, who masterminded Tottenham’s first domestic title challenge for decades last season, said at a news conference.

“With two pitches (at the training ground) we designed the same dimensions as Wembley. We change between the pitches to keep the grass at a good level.

“We use different pitches on different days during the week. You have more space to play, it’s more difficult for the opponent to press you when (there are) more metres to run, but the same for both.”

Tottenham have won only once in five visits to the new Wembley, while Arsenal’s decision to play Champions League matches at the old venue in the late 1990s backfired as they never managed to turn it into a fortress.

When Spurs played in the 2010-11 Champions League their home form was key to their run to the quarter-finals.

Pochettino is not concerned that advantage will be diminished by playing ‘away’ from home.

“We trust in us,” he said. “We believe in the way we play but we need to adapt our game.”

“We need to go to Wembley and play, behave naturally and not try to find an excuse, that’s never good,” he added.

Tottenham will have Belgium midfielder Mousa Dembele back for the visit of Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.

Dembele has missed the first four games of Tottenham’s Premier League campaign because of a domestic suspension for violent conduct at the end of last season against Chelsea.

Left back Danny Rose will miss the game though because of a hamstring injury. Welshman Ben Davies will deputise.