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Pochettino missing home

By March 4, 2017No Comments

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is starting to miss White Hart Lane already.

Spurs have only seven games left at their ground before the planned switch to Wembley next season, with Pochettino’s men due to kick off in their new £700million stadium in August 2018.

There has been relatively little fanfare surrounding the final weeks of the place Tottenham have called home since 1899.

The club point to the fact they are not relocating, as much as just shifting next door, but they are also yet to confirm their move to Wembley, with the deadline fast approaching at the end of this month.

On the pitch, however, the players have risen to the occasion, given Spurs are unbeaten at White Hart Lane this season and have a very realistic chance of maintaining that record until the final whistle blows in May.

They host Everton on Sunday in the first of three matches left against the Premier League’s top seven, the other two coming at home to Arsenal and Manchester United in the last four games of the campaign.

Pochettino said: “It’s true that it’s special this season at White Hart Lane. We can all feel it.

“You can feel that it’s very special every time that we play. The people are more open to helping the team, the team is more focused, trying to pay back the supporters for that support.

“And yes, I think it’s special. It’s a moment when you start to feel very comfortable there. You start to miss it before you leave. Every time you are there, you miss it.”

Tottenham have won 11 of their 13 games at home this season – only Chelsea have a better record – including victories over both Antonio Conte’s side and Manchester City.

They also scored twice in the final two minutes to come back and beat West Ham 3-2 in November.

Pochettino knows only too well the emotions of upping sticks after he played in Espanyol’s final season at the Sarria Stadium in 1997, the Spanish club’s home since 1923.

“I remember very well the last games,” Pochettino said.

“It was very emotional, with a big history. It was very special. I was a player and I felt how emotional it was. The last game, the day that the stand came down, how the people cried. It was very, very emotional.

“And now it’s happening at White Hart Lane, many, many years after, I am living the same, and feeling the same, that I was 20 years ago.”

Everton certainly pose a threat to Tottenham, having won five and drawn two of their seven league games this year, a run that included a 4-0 hammering of Manchester City in January.

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring that day and Sunday’s clash will see the Belgian go head to head against Harry Kane, with whom he and Alexis Sanchez are tied at the top of Premier League scoring charts on 17 goals.

Kane, who is expected to shake off a knock to his knee, bagged his second hat-trick in seven days against Stoke last weekend and Pochettino offered an insight into his striker’s relentless desire to improve.

“Sometimes he’s upset because sometimes he wants to do finishing on the afternoon and we say ‘no, it’s not the moment, tomorrow’,” Pochettino said.

“He says, ‘no, but I want to today in the afternoon. I want to do double session’. I say, ‘Harry, no. Harry, no.’ He says, ‘Oh gaffer, come on, I feel good, I am not tired.’ I say, ‘No, but it’s not good for you.’

“Then it was, ‘okay, at the end, maybe half an hour finishing’ – even though we needed to call two or three keepers from the academy. That shows his determination and character.”