Mauricio Pochettino wants Tottenham to be at home at Wembley
Published 24/11/2016 | 08:06
Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Tottenham will continue playing at Wembley even if they drop into the Europa League.
Defeat against Monaco on Tuesday ended the club's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League last 16 but they can seal a spot in the Europa League by finishing third in Group E.
Spurs have lost both of their two home games at the national stadium so far but will not take up the option of switching back to White Hart Lane.
The club are due to move into Wembley for the whole of next season while their new stadium is completed and Pochettino wants his team to adjust.
"I don't know where that rumour started. We will play in Wembley," Pochettino said.
"It is the decision of the club - the chairman and the board and us, and me in this case - we are sure we will play in Wembley if we are in the Europa League.
"And then we need to make Wembley our home. It is a good opportunity to play the next game (against CSKA Moscow) in Wembley and then to play there if we have the possibility in the Europa League.
"Because next season if we need to play 19 games and cup games and European competitions there, I think we need to make Wembley our home."
Tottenham chose to play Champions League home games at Wembley as the building of their new stadium has reduced White Hart Lane's capacity, access and delivery space for broadcasters.
The move has proven a nightmare, however, with Spurs suffering surprise defeats there against both Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, and failing to make the knock-out stages.
They will face CSKA Moscow at the national stadium in their last Champions League group fixture next month, when a point will secure Europa League qualification.
"We cannot complain next season," Pochettino said.
"We need to start thinking of Wembley as our home and avoid all of the negative things about Wembley. I don't think it (negative comments) will help us today or in the future."
After this week's defeat in Monaco, Moussa Sissoko admitted "going home" for Europa League matches would be "easier" for the players, but Pochettino gave the Frenchman's comments short shrift.
"The players need to be focused on playing," Pochettino said. "Talk on the pitch is the most important."
Spurs now turn their attention back to the Premier League, where they travel to Chelsea on Saturday in a re-match of the tempestuous and title-deciding 2-2 draw in May that left Leicester celebrating.
Tottenham have not won at Stamford Bridge in 26 years and Antonio Conte's side are in excellent form, having shot to the top of the league on the back of six consecutive victories.
"It's a good challenge for us," Pochettino said. They are in very good form. They have a great manager that I know very well and they have great players too.
"It's an advantage not being involved in European competition or the cups now. They have time to train and develop their philosophy. They are, not only in England but in Europe, the team most in form today."
Pochettino will be without his two left-backs in Danny Rose, who is suspended, and Ben Davies, who is nursing an ankle injury, meaning Jan Vertonghen is expected to shift to full-back and Kevin Wimmer continue at centre-half.
Erik Lamela remains out with a hip problem while Toby Alderweireld is yet to overcome the niggling knee injury that has kept him sidelined for almost six weeks.
"It's true that our expectation was to recover Toby earlier," Pochettino said.
"It's true we miss him a lot but we are happy. Today he was involved with the squad to do some boxes (a training drill) and with the ball. I don't want to be wrong but we hope he will be available as soon as possible.
"We will see tomorrow (Friday) if he can do the whole training session and next week will be key to see at the end of the week if he will be available for Swansea. But for Saturday it's sure he's out."