Bigger pitch is no excuse, says Pochettino

Bigger pitch is no excuse, says Pochettino

The Tottenham boss has commented that Wembley's bigger pitch should not effect his team's performance.

Francesca Byrne

Tottenham Hotspur will kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign on September 13 at home to Monaco.

The Lilywhites will be hosting over 85,000 Tottenham fans for the game as they move into Wembley for the duration of the tournament.

However, the stadium may cause some problems as the pitch is bigger than the one Tottenham are used to playing on at White Hart Lane, but manager Mauricio Pochettino has commented that this should not be used as an excuse for his team. Pochettino expressed the opinion that the challenges that await his team in the group stages are no more that the ones they face in the Premier League as well as the fact that they have trained on recreated pitches at their training ground.

Group stages proves nothing

Tottenham go into their Champions League opener having cruised to a 4-0 victory over a deflated Stoke side on the weekend and Pochettino claims that this victory proves that Tottenham are ready for the Champions League as there is no difference in difficulty between the two opponents.

The Argentine commented that “when you’re a manager in the Premier League you prove if you’re good enough or not because the Premier League is the toughest competition in the world” before adding that you compete against the “top clubs in the world” such as “Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal”.

He added that it is “as tough to play Monaco as it is to play against stoke , in Stoke” and therefore the club has “nothing to prove”.

Wembley will not be an excuse

Due to the constructions works currently taking place at White Hart Lane, Spurs have failed to meet the UEFA guidelines for stadium capacity. This has forced the club to play their Champions League games at Wembley this season. This may cause problems for the team, as the pitch will be bigger than the one they are used to playing on at White Hart Lane. Tottenham have only trained once at Wembley, but this was over three weeks ago.

Mauricio Pochettino explained the difference a bigger pitch can make to the style of play, saying that as “you have more space to play, it’s more difficult for the opponent to press you when there are more meters to run” but he was also quick to point out that this is “the same” for his players. However, Pochettino claims that this is not a good enough excuse for his team.

The Argentine revealed that he had two pitches drawn up at Tottenham’s training ground, Hotspur Way, to match the dimensions of Wembley’s pitch adding, that “we change between the pitches to keep the grass at a good level”. He concluded on a positive note suggesting that his team is confident going into the game, commenting that “we believe in the way we play and it’s a good chance to play in a big pitch” but “we need to adapt our game" so that we “feel good at Wembley” like they do at White Hart Lane.

One way in which Tottenham can become comfortable at Wembley is by keeping their pre-match routine the same. Pochettino confirmed that his team will do just that as they “will arrive three-and-a-half hours before the game” and “arrive with our cars” so that “it will be the same”.