Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino proud of players after securing Champions League place

Harry Kane scored the winner in the victory over Newcastle.

Tottenham will play Champions League football for the third season running after beating Newcastle
Tottenham will play Champions League football for the third season running after beating Newcastle

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was bursting with pride after seeing his side book a third successive season in the Champions League.

Harry Kane’s second half goal earned a 1-0 win over Newcastle at Wembley which ensured them another top four finish after Chelsea could only draw with Huddersfield.

This year’s achievement is particularly impressive given they have effectively had a season’s worth of away games, owing to playing their home fixtures at the national stadium, while the other teams around them have also spent considerably more.

“To achieve the top four is a massive achievement,” he said. “I want to congratulate the players and then I want to congratulate all the staff that work hard every day to achieve everything that we want to achieve.

“It is a massive congratulations and thank you to all of the staff because they have worked so hard…38 games away from home in the Premier League, we need to say thank you to all of the staff.”

Spurs wrap up their campaign with one more outing at Wembley, against Leicester on Sunday, before heading home to their rebuilt White Hart Lane stadium.

And Pochettino knows how important it was to ensure there would be Champions League football in their new home next season.

“For the club it is a massive thing, to move to the new stadium and play in the Champions League, it will be another massive challenge,” the boss added.

“It will be a fantastic stadium but you need to make it your home, like with Wembley we will need time for that to happen.

“This group have the experience to make it feel like home.

“Maybe people did not realise it was so tough for the players and staff and for the fans. It was difficult to play here every week and move from White Hart Lane to Wembley.

“That is why I feel so proud about this group of players, to achieve the top four like this despite many things that happen during the season. That is why I say a big thank you to the players and to the staff.”

Spurs were stumbling towards the line and this was another nervy night as Newcastle were not lying down.

Jonjo Shelvey hit the post in the first half with a free-kick while Dwight Gayle, Jamaal Lascelles and Jacob Murphy all had good chances to ruin their hosts’ night.

In the end, Kane’s goal was enough, a superb first-time finish into the top corner following neat work by Son Heung-min, which left Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez scratching his head.

“We did really well, 14 attempts against Tottenham at home, means that something we did was right,” he said.

“There were two decisions, two penalties that were clear but not given, but still we had enough chances to score.

“We put them under pressure, a very good team, very good players and we deserved more.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph