Tottenham news: Mauricio Pochettino confirms Spurs will remain at Wembley after Moussa Sissoko criticism

Sissoko spoke out over his desire to see European fixtures return to White Hart Lane but Pochettino wants his side to adjust to play at Wembley ahead of next season's full-time move

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur will not move back to White Hart Lane for their European games in the second half of this season. Spurs have been knocked out of the Champions League but are still likely to be in the knock-out round of the Europa League when the competition resumes in February.

While some at Tottenham have considered playing those games at White Hart Lane, and Moussa Sissoko went as far as to say he would like to switch back, Mauricio Pochettino and the club have since decided that Wembley will stay their European home for the rest of this season.

Spurs are set to play all of their home games at Wembley next year while the White Hart Lane redevelopment continues. They have found Wembley very difficult so far this season, losing badly to both Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. But that is precisely why Pochettino wants Spurs to continue there, to “make it their home,” and to give Spurs the best possible chance of acclimatising to the national stadium before next season.

“The players need to be focused on playing, to talk on the pitch, that is the most important thing,” said Pochettino when asked about Sissoko’s comments. “The decisions of the club are down to the chairman and the board and us, and me in this case. It's sure that if we are in the Europa League, we will play at Wembley.”

Tottenham need to make Wembley familiar if they are to succeed there. “We need to make it our home,” Pochettino explained. “It's a good opportunity to play our next game at Wembley [against CSKA] and then to play the Europa League games there, if we have the possibility to play Europa League. Because next season, we need to play 19 games, and cups and European competition [at Wembley]. We need to make Wembley our home and it's a great opportunity to play.”

Spurs have one more scheduled game there, in their Champions League dead rubber against CSKA Moscow in early December. Unless Spurs lose that game, they will go into the Europa League last-32, which resumes in February. That means they could, in theory, play another four Wembley games in the spring if they make it all the way through to the final next May.

Ultimately, Spurs need to break their Wembley jinx if next season is to be successful. They need to take a longer view and realise that there are more important things than succeeding in the Europa League this season. That was the forward-thinking attitude that made Pochettino decide that they have no option but to make Wembley work for them.

 

“In football, you always need to look forward,” he said. “You cannot stop and try to complain or blame. I am looking forward to try to get more possibilities to play at Wembley. So that the players and the team start to feel at home, that is the most important thing. Because the new stadium is coming and we need to move to Wembley next season. We cannot complain next season. We need to avoid all the negative things about Wembley. It doesn't help us today and it won't help us in the future.”

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