Friday 23 August 2019

'I am a lucky man' - Mauricio Pochettino dedicates Tottenham's victory at their new home to his boss

Pochettino applauds the fans at full-time (Nick Potts/PA)
Pochettino applauds the fans at full-time (Nick Potts/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino dedicated his side's 2-0 win against Crystal Palace to his chairman Daniel Levy, as the long-awaited first game at their new home ended in triumph.

Son Heung-min scored the opening goal at Tottenham's new stadium before Christian Eriksen snatched a late clincher to move Pochettino's side back up to third place in the Premier League, one point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea.

The emotion of the occasion could have affected the focus of the Tottenham players after a run that has saw them collect just one point in their previous five Premier League matches, with Pochettino dedicating the victory to the mastermind of the club's extravagant stadium project.

"It's a special moment, a special night. I feel and believe it is the best stadium in the world," declared Pochettino.

"We knew the game was going to be difficult and tough. You don't know how we're going to react but, playing the way we played in the first half, we were going to score.

"I'm pleased for Daniel Levy because of this fantastic project and I dedicate that victory to him.

"After five years together, to be here as a manager today I am a lucky man and I want to say thank you to him and everyone who made this possible. It was special like the last day at White Hart Lane. It’s one of the best moments of my life. It will always be in my heart.

"The emotion was amazing from the beginning. To win was so important to us. Today we touched the glory. Now we need to touch the glory of lifting trophies. Now is the start of a chapter. We close one chapter and open another chapter and bring victory to our fans.

"The idea was to move to the new stadium and the second year be in the Champions League. We’re ahead of that. As I said it’s time to close the last chapter and make sure that Tottenham are going to be contenders for big things. With the training ground and stadium they are big. If we cannot think big we are going to struggle."

Son Heung-min scores the first goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Nick Potts/PA)

Son insisted he will claim the honour of being the first goal scorer at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite a deflection on his effort that gave Spurs a second half lead.

"It is my goal, of course," he stated. "Yes there was a deflection, but I am happy to be the first player to score at this amazing stadium.

"The noise was just so loud. White Hart Lane is our history but the new stadium...I can't believe it. To play in it is an amazing feeling. It's a bit different from Wembley. Wembley was not our home."

Palace manager Roy Hodgson suggested his side could have taken something from the game if they had kept a clean sheet for a little longer.

"I think we needed to hang on another five or 10 minutes at 0-0," he stated. "The first goal was a bit unfortunate being a deflection. Spurs had been the dominant team - no doubt about that.

"We can't complain about the result - they played very well. I cannot be too disappointed with my side but there was no surrender on our side.

"I don’t know if the stadium was a factor. It was always going to be a tough game. The pitch was outstanding but maybe a bit slippery. The game was pretty much what we prepared for. We knew Tottenham would be flying tonight and we defended resolutely."

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