Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham’s new stadium can boost them in their bid for Champions League qualification, but he warned his players not to get caught up in the “party” atmosphere.
Spurs will belatedly play for the first time at their new home on Wednesday when they take on Crystal Palace in the first of five Premier League matches at the venue between now and the end of the season.
The move comes as a timely boost for Tottenham, who slipped to fourth in the table – just a point ahead of sixth-placed Chelsea – with Arsenal’s win over Newcastle United on Monday.
Pochettino told a news conference: “Of course we are going to fight. We are in the top four.
“We are disappointed in the last result but, against Liverpool [a late 2-1 defeat], we deserved more. I thought we played really well. In the second half, we felt good.
“If we play like that, I don’t doubt we are going to be in the top four.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 2, 2019
“It is in our hands. It is a mini-league – seven games, with five in our new stadium. That will be a big boost for our players and for our fans. It is up to us to achieve that.”
But the midweek clash with Palace will not be straightforward for Spurs, Pochettino warns, with the risk of the emotion of the curtain-raiser perhaps having a draining effect on the home side.
“It is going to be a very, very tough game, of course,” he said. “But you cannot stop that feeling that when everyone comes here, they are ready for a party.
“At the same time, it is very dangerous to deal with that excitement. We need to deal with this energy and deal with it in the right moment during the 90 minutes.
“I saw with our under-18s [in a test event] how excited they were to play and how they spent their energy in the first half and in the second half they were a little bit tired. It was a very good victory against Southampton.
“It’s the opening day but we need to be focused. [This match] is very important for the club but the three points are in the same level of importance.”
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