Football

Wembley finally feels like our home: Pochettino

Spurs boss believes they have settled down at their temporary ground; ex-Arsenal striker Merson says Gunners have one of the best records there

EPL
 TOTTENHAM aRSENAL

Following a difficult start at their temporary residence, Mauricio Pochettino says Wembley finally feels like home for Tottenham as they prepare to host Arsenal on Saturday.

Spurs have gone 12 matches unbeaten at the home of English football, where they are based this season while their new stadium is completed.

But Pochettino’s side took time to settle at Wembley. Last year they played their European games there but crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage, largely due to their poor home form.

This season, they are playing all their Premier League home games and European matches at the stadium and they started by losing to Chelsea and drawing with Burnley and Swansea.

But as Spurs look to put seven points between themselves and the Gunners this weekend, Pochettino believes his players have now fully adjusted.

“Of course, it was difficult at the start,” the Argentinian said. “It’s like growing up in a certain house for 20 years and then moving.

“You need time to adapt, you won’t sleep well for the first few nights. It’s a new house but it’s not your home. But now we are starting to feel that Wembley is home.

“Before, it was a new house, and it is the same for the fans. They were used to meeting the same people before the game, going to the same pubs. All of us are creatures of habit.” 

'MORE LIKE ARSENAL'S HOME'

However, former Arsenal player Paul Merson believes Wembley feels more like a home for Arsenal, who have a good record there.

“If it was at White Hart Lane, no chance,” Merson said on Sky Sports of Arsenal’s prospects. “Arsenal have lost six away games this season, but have got one of the best records at Wembley in recent years, so this is a bit of a home game for them.”

The task for Pochettino is now to ensure Tottenham head to their new stadium as a Champions League club, with one point still separating them from Chelsea in fourth.

Arsene Wenger managed a similar period of transition when Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2006 but Pochettino does not see himself replicating the feats of the Frenchman.

“It’s difficult (to be like Wenger),” the 45-year-old said. “For different reasons, it is tough. Maybe we are talking about one of the last managers to be able to apply this power over everything in a football club. The owners are different these days.

“Before, England was a little bit of a paradise for football. It was unique: there was respect for people, respect for managers, and even when I arrived at Southampton five years ago, it was still there.

“But now the owners are different. When English football started to integrate more with European football, England started to share the Latin culture more.

“And in the last few years, everything that has happened in the English game is similar to what would happen in another European country.” – AFP, REUTERS

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