Champions League

UCL 'massive' to Spurs new home - Pochettino

2018-05-10 09:56
Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

London - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino described a return to Champions League football at the club's new 62 000 capacity stadium next season as "massively important" after securing a top four finish on Wednesday.

Spurs qualified for the Champions League for a third consecutive season thanks to Harry Kane's winner in a nervy 1-0 win over Newcastle allied to Chelsea's 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield.

Victory also moved Pochettino's men above Liverpool into third, and he believes their success this season is even more laudable having played the whole campaign at a temporary home in Wembley.

"For the club (it) is a massive thing to move to the new stadium and play Champions League," said Pochettino.

"It will be another massive challenge because it will be the same as playing in Wembley. It will be a fantastic stadium, but you need to make the stadium your home."

Despite undoubted progress in Pochettino's four years in charge, Spurs have still yet to win a trophy under the Argentine.

And he accepted that silverware is the next challenge having established Tottenham as a regular in the top four.

"The first step is to be competitive, to reduce the gap with the top four, and that was the challenge four years ago. Now it is the first time in 23 years in the Premier League Tottenham is above (all) the (other) London clubs.

"Next is the trophy, but you need to build. We are not in a club that won a lot in the past years."

Spurs had won just one of their previous five games as a late season slump threatened to cost them Champions League football.

And in their penultimate match at their temporary home, the hosts were grateful to some good fortune and wayward Newcastle finishing to seal their return to Europe's premier club competition next season.

Jonjo Shelvey smashed a free-kick from the edge of the box off the post before Hugo Lloris produced a fine flying save to his right to parry a powerful header from Jamaal Lascelles.

Dwight Gayle headed over a decent opportunity with a free header from close range and then saw a tame effort comfortably handled by Lloris once more.

With tension among the home support rising, Spurs fans could barely believe their eyes when Kane completely failed to make contact as the ball fell invitingly for him with just Dubravka to beat just before the break.

Kane hasn't been at his best since returning from ankle ligament damage last month that kept him sidelined for three weeks.

However, England's talisman still can't be offered too many clear-cut chances, and he made amends to settle Spurs' nerves five minutes into the second-half.

Son Heung-min's low cross teed up Kane to open his body and curl home his 39th goal of the season into the top corner.

There were still a few scares to survive for Spurs as Ayoze Perez fluffed his lines with a great chance to equalise and substitute Jacob Murphy then had the visitors' best chance of the night, but blasted high and wide to a palpable sense of relief.

The Spurs fans rose to their feet to greet Toby Alderweireld's return as a substitute. The Belgian has been sidelined by Pochettino in recent months reportedly due to his refusal to sign a new contract with the club.

And seconds later there were more celebrations as news of the full-time score filtered through from Stamford Bridge that Chelsea's Champions League chase had faltered

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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