Sunday 9 December 2018

Pochettino insists Wembley feels like 'home'

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA

Sam Dean

Mauricio Pochettino has said Wembley finally feels like "home" for Tottenham Hotspur as his side prepares to challenge an Arsenal team that has won nine consecutive games at the national stadium.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said this week that he would rather face Spurs at Wembley than at their former White Hart Lane ground, but Pochettino insisted his team have now adapted to their temporary home.

Spurs have gone 12 home matches without defeat in the Premier League, and have won eight of their past 10 league games at Wembley. This is despite a challenging start to the season in which they were beaten by Chelsea and held to draws by both Swansea and Burnley at the national stadium.

"Of course, it was difficult at the start," Pochettino said. "It is 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."

Pochettino added that football in England has lost the "unique" culture of respect that has allowed Wenger to remain as Arsenal manager since 1996, saying that owners have started to act in a more Latin or European manner.

"It is difficult (to be like Wenger)," the Spurs manager 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. 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."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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