Champions League

No Wembley excuses for Spurs

2016-09-13 16:46
Mauricio Pochettino (Gallo Images)

London - Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham won't be allowed to use their temporary move to Wembley as an excuse for failure in their Champions League opener against Monaco on Wednesday.

Pochettino's side return to the Champions League for the first time in five years in unfamiliar surroundings after deciding to stage their European matches at Wembley rather than White Hart Lane.

The prospect of bigger crowds at the English national stadium convinced Tottenham to make the short move across north London and the crowd is expected to set a new record for the largest attendance for a home Champions League game in Britain.

Fans of Tottenham's bitter rivals Arsenal can testify to the struggles of a Wembley relocation after they won just two of their six fixtures in Europe when temporarily playing there in the late 1990s.

Tottenham have won only once at the redeveloped Wembley since it opened in 2007 and Pochettino's demand for a high-intensity pressing style may prove more demanding for his players on the stadium's big pitch.

But the Argentine coach has drilled his players on a pitch of the same size at their Enfield training ground and he expects them to thrive in their new surroundings.

"We need to go to Wembley and play, behave naturally and not try to find an excuse, that's never good," Pochettino said on Tuesday.

"We trust in us. We believe in the way we play and it's a good chance to play on a big pitch.

"You have more space to play, it's more difficult for the opponent to press you when there are more metres to run, but the same for both.

"We feel good at White Hart Lane because it's our home and we need to feel good at Wembley. With two pitches at the training ground we designed the same dimensions as Wembley."

Tottenham striker Harry Kane agrees with Pochettino and claims a strong English core that includes internationals Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and himself, can help them settle in the venue where they play for their country.

"If there are 85-90,000 Tottenham fans in there it's only going to make you play better," Kane said.

"A lot of us have played there already, so it feels like even more of a home. Everyone knows how iconic Wembley is, but that's what we've got to be careful of.

"Monaco are going to come here and it's a big occasion for them as well. We have to make sure we're ready for that."

Unlike his English colleagues, South Korea midfielder Son Heung-min got his first taste of the most famous stadium in England when Spurs trained there recently.

"For every player, it's a dream to play in the Champions League," Son said.

"For me also, it's two years since I played in the Champions League. I can't wait for this night.

"My first time I went training at Wembley, the stadium was unbelievable. I'm excited to play there, so many fans will be there and we have to win this game."

Tottenham head into the Monaco clash on a high after winning 4-0 at Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday.

But Monaco will also be in confident mood after climbing to the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-1 win at Lille.

Leonardo Jardim's team are unbeaten in four league matches, including an upset of French champions Paris Saint Germain, and survived two tough rounds of qualifying against Fenerbahce and Villarreal to reach the Champions League group stages.

According to former France and Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit, Jardim's men should not be underestimated.

"Monaco will not be intimidated. They are in good form and they beat PSG just before the international break," he said.

"They are organised and are playing well. Spurs need to be careful of them."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.