Tottenham Hotspur must shake off any lingering Champions League home sickness and make Wembley Stadium a fortress, according to their former midfield maestro Glenn Hoddle.
The club he also managed host Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley on Wednesday when the majority in a sell-out 85,000 crowd will hope for a better performance than when they lost 2-1 there to Monaco in their opening Group E game in September.
Tottenham are using the cavernous Wembley for Champions League ties this season because of a reduced capacity at White Hart Lane as work continues on a new 60,000-seater ground.
Next season, as the project gathers pace and White Hart Lane is demolished, Tottenham will play all their home matches at the national stadium and Hoddle says it will be vital to generate an intimidating atmosphere.
“I think it’s a disadvantage at the moment because it’s so fresh and new,” Hoddle told Reuters at the launch of Down Memory Lane, a book chronicling the last 55 years at White Hart Lane.
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“The Lane atmosphere and playing in a tighter environment is a major plus for them. But in the long term playing at Wembley for the whole season next season has got to be a good thing. They have to get acclimatised to it.
“That’s the crowd as well as the team. There were 85,000 against Monaco and the atmosphere was not as good as it should have been. They have to get the singers in the right place and the atmosphere right and the whole thing will spin off,” said Hoddle.
“If they get that right it could be a massive advantage. It may not come overnight but it’s something the club must work on and the players need to get familiar with.
“Going to Wembley to play is going to be slightly difficult but they’ve got to make it into something positive.”
Former England manager Hoddle, voted Tottenham’s greatest player at the launch of the book in London’s West End, says November is a crucial month for Spurs who are unbeaten in the Premier League but have slipped to fifth after three straight draws.
After Wednesday’s fixture against Leverkusen they travel to Arsenal on Sunday, then after the international break have back-to-back derbies against West Ham United and Chelsea.
“Tottenham have come up against a bit of a drawing brick wall and they need to do something about it,” Hoddle said.
“Whether they can do that in the next fixture at Arsenal I’m not so sure, it will be a tough one.
“But they have to come through this month starting with a Champions League win on Wednesday and if they can do that it would set them up nicely and get the momentum back.”
Spurs have four points from three games in Group E. They are one point behind Monaco, one ahead of Leverkusen and two in front of CSKA Moscow(Editing by Tony Jimenez)