Monday 19 March 2018

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham starting to feel that Wembley is home

Spurs head into the north London derby four points ahead of Arsenal.

Mauricio Pochettino is starting to feel at home at Wembley
Mauricio Pochettino is starting to feel at home at Wembley

By Tom Allnutt, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino has claimed Wembley finally feels like home for Tottenham ahead of Saturday’s north London derby against Arsenal.

Spurs host their fiercest rivals this weekend, having gone 12 matches unbeaten under the arch, where they are based this term while the club’s new stadium is completed.

Wembley has not always been a happy hunting ground for Tottenham.

They crashed out in the Champions League group stage last season, largely due to their poor form there, and started this campaign by losing at home to Chelsea and drawing with Burnley and Swansea.

But, as Spurs look to put seven points between themselves and the Gunners this weekend, Pochettino believes his players have now fully adjusted.

“Of course, it was difficult at the start,” the Argentinian said. “It’s like growing up in a certain house for 20 years and then moving.

“You need time to adapt, you won’t sleep well for the first few nights. It’s a new house but it’s not your home. But now we are starting to feel that Wembley is home.

“Before, it was a new house, and it is the same for the fans. They were used to meeting the same people before the game, going to the same pubs. All of us are creatures of habit.”

The task for Pochettino is now to ensure Tottenham head to their new stadium as a Champions League club, with one point still separating them from Chelsea in fourth.

Arsene Wenger managed a similar period of transition when Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2006, but Pochettino does not see himself ever replicating the Frenchman at Spurs.

“It’s difficult (to be like Wenger),” the 45-year-old said.

“For different reasons, it is tough. Maybe we are talking about one of the last managers to be able to apply this power over everything in a football club. The owners are different these days.

Mauricio Pochettino, left, thinks it will be 'difficult' to emulate Arsene Wenger

“Before, England was a little bit of a paradise for football. It was unique: there was respect for people, respect for managers, and even when I arrived at Southampton five years ago, it was still there.

“But now the owners are different. When English football started to integrate more with European football, England started to share the Latin culture more.

“And in the last few years, everything that has happened in the English game is similar to what would happen in another European country.”

Press Association

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