Sunday 18 March 2018

Spurs players now relish playing at Wembley, says Pochettino

Son Heung-min scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham's players now relish playing at Wembley
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham's players now relish playing at Wembley

By Declan Warrington, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino spoke of the relish his players now take from playing at Wembley after Tottenham again convinced in their 2-0 victory over Huddersfield.

Five days before they host Juventus in the Champions League knockout stages hoping to progress to the competition’s quarter-finals, they eased to all three points against their domestic rivals after fine finishes in each half from Son Heung-min.

Their impressive performance, which also kept them in contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League, came at the end of a week in which they have scored eight goals at their temporary home, where they will also face Juve and where they have previously struggled.

One of the biggest challenges of Spurs’ season surrounded that of adjusting to Wembley having left White Hart Lane while their new stadium is being built.

Their results there had previously been so poor they were often described as having a “Wembley curse”, but their performance against Huddersfield was a significant improvement on that in last week’s victory at Crystal Palace, and also represented their seventh in succession at “home”.

“I am so pleased, it is a fantastic run at home,” said Spurs manager Pochettino, 46 on Friday. “We can say Wembley is our home and that is so important for the team.

“When we played here last season in the Champions League or Europa League it was a strange feeling, a difficult feeling, but for our fans and us it’s like our home and the team feel good. The performance was good: a very good professional performance.

“Son is one of the players you always expect amazing things from. He is a talented player, consistent, very professional and with a player like him or Harry (Kane), they work a lot and it’s payback.

“We are now in a position that we have to be focused and prepare for Juventus. We don’t have control over what is going to happen (in the Premier League on Sunday) but we are happy because winning three points was our objective.”

Asked about Wednesday’s fixture, he then responded: “Our approach will be the same as we approach the game in Turin (in the 2-2 draw in the first leg). You need to feel happy; you need to feel free.

“It’s a football game and we’re going to enjoy it. It’s important, it’s a massive competition, but we fought a lot in the last few years to try to be there and go to play these type of games.”

Defeat leaves Huddersfield, who also lost Collin Quaner and Alex Pritchard to first-half injuries, only three points above the bottom three, and their manager David Wagner said of Spurs: “They were too good for us.

“We tried to put in effort, attitude and fighting spirit and it was not enough. It doesn’t mean the disappointment is really big. It’s something we can absolutely accept.

“The first half wasn’t what we are able to show. The second half was better. At the end we have to say that this was a deserved defeat. We were beaten by quality.”

Press Association

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