London (Reuters): Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that making Wembley feel like home this season is going to be as big a challenge for his team as winning the Premier League title.
Spurs, who finished runners-up to London rivals Chelsea, were unbeatable at their now-demolished White Hart Lane stadium last season, dropping just four points at home.
But they have struggled at Wembley in recent years, with the larger pitch not suiting Pochettino’s preferred high-pressing style while the distance of the 90,000 fans can result in a less intense atmosphere than at their old stomping ground.
“It’s a big challenge for us,” the Argentine told TalkSport on Wednesday. “Maybe similar as to winning a title.
“Because to make Wembley home and to change the perception from the fans and feel in the end that Wembley can help us to be better and achieve our dream is a big, big job.”
Tottenham have a woeful record at Wembley -- where they will play their home games this term while their new stadium is built on the site of their old one 12 miles away. They have won twice in 10 attempts since the national stadium reopened in 2007.
With one of the best squads in the country, featuring talented England players Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Pochettino’s hopes of ending the club’s wait for a first league title since 1961 rest on finding an antidote to the Wembley hoodoo. “I think we’re improving, we’re learning and the evolution of the team is fantastic, but now I think we have ahead a big challenge because it’s not only to fight with the big clubs ... but another thing is to try to make home, Wembley,” he said.
“But, yes, we are working on that and hopefully... everyone will feel like Wembley is our home.” The Argentine was more relaxed about the club’s lack of activity in the transfer market ahead Tottenham’s first game of the season at promoted Newcastle United on Sunday.
Spurs are the only team in the top flight yet to make a signing in the current transfer window and have sold England right-back Kyle Walker to Manchester City for a fee reported at 50 million pounds ($64.97 million) by local media.
“Sure we are going to spend, we are going to sign some players and try to add some players that can help us and strengthen our squad to fight,” Pochettino added. “We need some new energy in the team and I’m sure that will happen.”