Premier League: Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says Wembley finally feels like home ahead of Arsenal clash
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.
London: 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 Argentine 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."
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."
Asian Champions League: AFC confirm revised group, schedule after Australian clubs pull out of tournament
Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar placed in the top six in the A-League regular season to qualify for the domestic playoffs, which start 11 June and are scheduled to conclude on 26 June, clashing with the Champions League preliminary and playoff stages, and prompting their withdrawal from the tournament on Friday.
The 58-year-old Scot surpassed expectations in his second spell at the Hammers securing them a place in next season's Europa League with 65 points, their highest Premier League tally.
"Kevin De Bruyne has joined the group and that's fantastic news. He looks ready, he looks fresh, and just to see him walking into the dining room was a real highlight of the day," Martinez told reporters at Belgium's team base near Brussels.