London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Tottenham stars not to use the club’s delayed new stadium as an excuse for their spluttering start to the season.
Pochettino’s side have been forced to play their League Cup third round tie against Watford on Wednesday in Milton Keynes due to the on-going problems with the rebuilding of White Hart Lane.
Tottenham had hoped to open their redeveloped stadium this season, but safety issues have severely delayed the project, meaning the north London club have returned to playing their home games at Wembley.
With Wembley not ready to host a football match this week after the Anthony Joshua boxing bout on Saturday, Tottenham arranged to play as the ‘home’ team against Watford in Milton Keynes.
It is not an ideal situation, especially as Tottenham have played only two home games all season, but Pochettino is adamant that shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the team’s inconsistent performances.
“If there is one thing I didn’t want it is to give reason to the players to say, ‘If we don’t win it’s because of Milton Keynes, it’s because we don’t play at our stadium, it’s because we play at Wembley’,” he said.
“I understand that it is not the same as playing in your home and the help from our fans will be fantastic in our new stadium and the energy is different playing in MK than your own stadium.
“That is our responsibility, it is not to blame the venue or the fans or the chairman. I try to avoid the players finding excuses.”
Tottenham should have settled into their new 62,000-seater stadium by now, had it not been delayed after failures to the alarm systems.
Argentine coach Pochettino admits it is a frustrating situation, but he doesn’t want unhappy fans to create a negative atmosphere while the delay drags on.
“I am the first that would like to finish the new stadium. If I have to go to work after training and help the builders finish the stadium as soon as possible so the fans will be happy, and all the players will be happy and the chairman will be happy, I promise I (will) go,” he said.
“Of course we feel disappointed for our fans but they need to understand that is a venue for the rest of our lives and for the next generations and years and years and it is so important to finish (it) in the right way.
“Maybe one or two months means a lot but in the end it is no time because the most important thing is to finish and in the future have a venue that is going to help us win trophies.”
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