English Premiership

Pochettino wants Spurs to match 'World Cup' standards of new stadium

2019-04-04 07:21
Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

London - Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino claimed his club are now "World Cup winners" in terms of facilities after opening their new state-of-the-art stadium by beating Crystal Palace 2-0 on Wednesday.

Second-half goals from Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen ensured Spurs snapped a five-game winless run in the Premier League and moved Pochettino's side back up to third at the expense of north London rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners have a game in hand over Tottenham, but victory also maintained a slender one-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea and opened up a three-point advantage over Manchester United in the race for a top-four finish.

Pochettino underlined the need for what he believes is the "best stadium in the world" to have Champions League football next season before kick-off.

And he called on his players to now perform to the level of their facilities on offer at both the club's training ground and new home.

"Now we are World Cup winners in facilities," said Pochettino. "Now the stadium is here and we need to be on the same level."

Tottenham have yet to win a trophy in the five years since Pochettino took charge, but have consistently punched above their weight by qualifying for the Champions League despite a more limited budget than their top six rivals.

Next week English champions Manchester City visit in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final and Pochettino wants his side to compete for major honours in the coming years.

"We need to start to think about the new chapter, the new era, to ensure Tottenham is a real contender for the big things. With our training ground, this new stadium, you must think big.

"We have to behave like a big club for sure. We need to be a realistic contender for big things."

A run of just one point from their previous five league games left Spurs in serious peril of missing out on the Champions League next season.

Plenty of work is still to be done in their remaining six matches, but with four of them on home soil, Pochettino is confident they will secure a top-four finish for the fourth straight season.

"I am so confident we are going to get top four," he added. "I think this group of players and of course everyone (at the club) deserve to be in the Champions League next season."

After 690 days since saying goodbye to the old White Hart Lane, Spurs returned home with plenty of pre-match pomp and ceremony with an operatic performance of "Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur" and fireworks before kick-off.

Yet, at half-time, they were facing the prospect of dropping out of the top four for the first time since November with Chelsea beating Brighton at Stamford Bridge.

And it was an on-loan Chelsea striker who nearly did his parent club a huge favour five minutes into the second-half when Palace's Michy Batshuayi curled just beyond Hugo Lloris's far post.

Pochettino's men were left lamenting their luck when Toby Alderweireld's last minute own goal cost them a deserved point at Liverpool on Sunday, but they had fortune on their side moments later to the huge relief of most of the near 60,000 in attendance.

Son's shot was headed straight down Vicente Guaita's throat until a big deflection off Luka Milivojevic left the Spaniard completely wrong-footed as the ball rolled into the bottom corner.

Harry Kane could not cap a momentous night with a goal, but the England captain was involved Spurs second 10 minutes from time as he broke into the area before the ball fell kindly for Eriksen to force home from close range.

 

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