LONDON: Mauricio Pochettino says Wembley is the “best place in the world” to play football despite the frustrations of Tottenham’s long wait to move into their new stadium.
Spurs full-back Danny Rose this week voiced his frustration at the club’s extended tenure at the national stadium and many Tottenham fans seem to agree, with just over 33,000, rather than the permitted capacity 51,000, turning up to watch the midweek win over Southampton.
But Pochettino, who played at the old Wembley for Argentina in 2000, has launched a passionate defence of the club’s temporary home.
“If you ask me, I am so, so happy to play at Wembley,” he said. “I was born in Argentina. When I heard about England for the first time it was with all the problems in the Falklands.
“Then when I arrived in Europe, when I played in the World Cup against England, when we arrived in Southampton six years ago, of course I changed completely my mind in the way I saw and now see this country.”
Pochettino, whose side are third in the Premier League, said it was always a dream to play at Wembley.
“We say ‘one game more, how lucky we are’,” he said. “For me, it’s the best place in the world to play football.
“Of course after we’ll share that with our new stadium — they’re going to be the two best places to play, our new stadium White Hart Lane, and Wembley.”
Kieran Trippier will miss Saturday’s trip to Leicester after aggravating a groin problem that forced him off against Southampton.
The England full-back suffered the injury during the World Cup semi-final but still played in the third-fourth place play-off a few days later.
Pochettino will take no such risks, saying: “For me a player that asked to come off the pitch, it’s common sense that after three days it’s impossible to play because, if not, there’s something wrong in that situation.”