LONDON – Mauricio Pochettino says he is not sure how playing at Wembley will affect Tottenham’s energy levels over the chaotic Christmas period as they try to stay in touch at the top of the Premier League.
Pochettino said on Thursday that the club’s physical data is showing his players are running further at the national stadium because of the larger pitch.
White Hart Lane, at 100 metres by 67 metres, was smaller than the Wembley surface, which measures at 105m by 68m, equating to an extra 440 square metres.
Spurs host West Brom on Saturday, the first of 10 games in 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.”
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 loss to Arsenal, captain Hugo Lloris said Spurs should 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 fight for the title, so why not fight to win the league again?’
“Of course the team needs the title... 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.”