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Sunday 11 December 2016

Pochettino backs Spurs players to be Wembley wonders

Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed suggestions Tottenham could struggle with the transition to Wembley when they host Monaco in the Champions League tonight.

Spurs are to play their European fixtures at the 90,000-capacity national stadium while their new ground - to succeed White Hart Lane, presently reduced to 32,000 - is being developed.

In addition to the change of environment that similarly undermined rivals Arsenal from 1998 to 1999, Spurs will be playing on a bigger pitch.

Pochettino's high-intensity pressing and brand of football will likely prove more demanding given Wembley's greater dimensions, but the manager has drilled his players on a new pitch of the same size at their Enfield training ground.

"We trust in us," said the 44-year-old, who remains without the injured Danny Rose. "We believe in the way we play and it's a good chance to play on a big pitch. We need to adapt our game.

"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. We change between the pitches to keep the grass at a good level.

"It's more difficult for the opponent to press you when (there are) more metres to run, but the same for both."

Spurs have won only once at Wembley since it was re-developed and re-opened in 2007, most recently losing 2-0 to Chelsea in the 2015 Capital One Cup final, but the manager is adamant their routine will remain unchanged.

"We need to go to Wembley and play, behave naturally and not try to find an excuse, that's never good," said Pochettino, whose team won 4-1 and drew 1-1 in two Europa League matches with Monaco last season. "We need to play and try to beat Monaco.

Tottenham Hotspur V AS Monaco (KO 7.45) Live Eir Sport 1

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