Football

Pochettino: No 'Wembley effect'

Spurs manager refuses to blame new home for loss, insists they were better than Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino insisted that Tottenham Hotspur's temporary Wembley home was not a factor in Sunday's 2-1 Premier League loss to Chelsea.

Spurs are tenants of England's national stadium this season as the construction of the new White Hart Lane is completed.

And in Wembley's first Premier League game, Spurs were beaten. They have two wins in 11 games since the arena reopened in 2007.

"Wembley was not the problem," Spurs boss Pochettino said. "I think the 'Wembley effect' is not the reason we lost the game.

"It doesn't affect me. But I understand that we need to talk, everyone needs to talk.

"It's not fair to blame Wembley. For me, Wembley is one of the best places in the world, one of the best places to play football."

But Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte reckons visiting teams will enjoy playing at Spurs' "home".

"To feel this atmosphere is amazing," he said.

"To see this atmosphere is great also for the opponents."

Marcos Alonso scored an 88th-minute winner for Chelsea as the Premier League champions rebounded from an opening week loss to Burnley, Spurs' next opponents at Wembley.

Michy Batshuayi's own goal had just six minutes earlier cancelled out Alonso's first-half free-kick.

Pochettino was pleased with his side's performance, and added: "I am disappointed because I think we deserved more.

"Our performance was good. We were much better than Chelsea. But they were clinical in front of goal. They shot twice and scored twice. For us, it was difficult to score."

It was Pochettino's first home league defeat in 14 London Derbies.

Tottenham completed an entire league season unbeaten at White Hart Lane last term for the first time in 52 years, including a January victory which ended Chelsea's 13-game winning run in the league.

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has called for Spurs to step up to the plate this season and start acting like one of the Premier League's big boys.

He warned the north London club about making sure their top players do not leave, particularly at a time when the club cannot compete financially with the elite.

"If you want to be a big club, you have to act like a big club,' Henry wrote in his column for The Sun.

"I know from my own experience it is so hard to compete financially when you are building a new stadium.

"But what happened at Arsenal? Everybody left!"

"Kyle Walker is already gone, Danny Rose has talked about it (leaving)... Eric Dier never denied anything about Manchester United.

"At some point, if you don't match the wages on offer at other clubs or bring titles, it's going to be difficult to keep Rose, Dier, Harry Kane and Dele Alli."

Chelsea boss Conte, meanwhile, lauded his "fighters" .

With Diego Costa in exile, Eden Hazard still recovering from a broken ankle and a thin squad following sales, loans and suspensions, Conte said Chelsea showed the spirit of champions on the field.

"To play against Tottenham, away, and to win is a fantastic result. It's not easy," Conte said.

"I want to thank my players. Every one. I saw today the fighters. I saw a lot of positive things in a moment that's not easy for us with the suspensions and the injuries.

"I'm very happy when I see this type of game.

"I'm not speaking about football, but this spirit, this heart, this desire." - WIRE SERVICES

mauricio pochettinotottenham hotspurCHELSEA (EPL)