Belfast Telegraph

Wembley proving an unknown quantity to Tottenham boss Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino admits he cannot be sure how playing at Wembley might affect Tottenham's energy levels over the chaotic Christmas period.

Pochettino said on Thursday the club's physical data is showing his players are running harder at the national stadium this season because of the larger pitch.

White Hart Lane, at 100 metres by 67m, was smaller than the Wembley surface, which measures at 105m by 68m, equating to an extra 440 square metres.

Spurs host West Brom under the arch on Saturday, the first of 10 games for them in the next five weeks, and Pochettino accepts his players may feel extra fatigue.

"It's true that this season, we are beating our physical stats because when you play at Wembley, you use more energy," Pochettino said.

"The team has improved a lot in the physical stats and now we need to see the effect over the Christmas period.

"It's new for us but in the same way it's a very good test because we're going to play in the stadium we're building, which will be similar to the Wembley size of pitch.

"The ball in play changes a lot. If you compare White Hart Lane to Wembley, the square metres changes a lot.

"I think we are one of the best teams today, in terms of effort. We are on the top. That always has an impact on your physical condition. For three years, we played at White Hart Lane, it was completely under control. It was high-intensity, no?

"But today it's true that we are finding different stats, and of course we need to be careful and be right with how we assess and make our decisions in the next few months."

Tottenham cannot afford to slip up against managerless West Brom, given they already trail Manchester City by 11 points in the title race.

After last weekend's defeat to Arsenal, captain Hugo Lloris said Spurs should even start concentrating on qualifying for the Champions League, rather than catching City.

"I understand Hugo," Pochettino said.

"If you came from Mars today, or outside of the universe, and you arrive in the Premier League and you say, 'Oh, Tottenham in the last two seasons fights for the title so why not fight to win the league again?'

"Of course the team needs the title. If not, this is s***. But Hugo, who was here for a long time before, knows it is not easy to be a regular in the top four, like Arsenal was doing for 22 years, and try to be a real contender.

"Because Hugo is realistic. Of course, he is the first who wants to win titles - the Champions League, the Premier League, everything - but he's 30 years old, and he's clever and realistic."

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