Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier believes that playing their European home games at Wembley Stadium will work better for them than it did for north London rivals Arsenal.
Staging Champions League fixtures at the national stadium was seen as a gamble that backfired for the Gunners, whose two seasons there – 1998-99 and 1999-2000 – both ended in elimination at the group stage.
Spurs begin their continental campaign on Wednesday against Monaco and Dier hopes a British record crowd for a Champions League home match can inspire them to victory over the French league leaders.
“I think Wembley is an advantage. It’s a special stadium. We’re excited to play there because of all the history that comes with it,” said Dier, who on Tuesday signed a new five-year contract.
“It’s a bigger stadium. The atmosphere will be fantastic because there will be 85,000 Tottenham fans there. I hope the pitch being a bit bigger helps us too. I think it can be a benefit for us.”
Size matters for Pochettino
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that Wembley’s greater size compared with White Hart Lane, whose capacity has been reduced by building work on the club’s new stadium, will also be of benefit.
The Argentinian has ensured his players will feel accustomed to the dimensions by insisting they practise there last month and having two replica-scale pitches installed at the club’s training ground.
“We need to go there and behave naturally. We trust ourselves and the way we play,” said Pochettino, who can field midfielder Mousa Dembele again following his domestic suspension.
“When you play on a big pitch it can help a team who try to build from the back, as we do, because you have more space. It is bigger than White Hart Lane but we are not worried about our physical condition.”