Mauricio Pochettino: Europa League games could help Tottenham get over Wembley hoodoo

 
Joe Hall
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Tottenham Wembley Champions League
Home away from home? Spurs have yet to settle at Wembley (Source: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino believes the Europa League could give his Tottenham team the chance to acclimatise to Wembley following their failed Champions League campaign.

Spurs lost their first two games at Wembley before being dumped out of the Champions League last month, but they can salvage a spot in Uefa's secondary competition by avoiding defeat to CSKA Moscow under the famous arch tomorrow night.

Pochettino sees the Europa League not only as a winnable trophy, but as a chance for his players to get more experience at the ground where they will play further games next season while Tottenham build a new £400m stadium.

Read more: Why Spurs' stadium gamble could backfire

"I believe It's important for the club to be involved in the Europa League," said Pochettino.


Pochettino: "We need to be positive" (Source: Getty)

"I don't know why anyone would think in a different way. We need to be positive. We're disappointed. But we need to be alive and try to win that trophy. Why not?

"After being out of the Champions League, it's [the Europa League] important for different reasons. First of all because we have the opportunity to play more games at Wembley where next season we will play more games. It's a great opportunity to make Wembley our home.

"For the squad it's important to be involved in different competitions. We have a lot of young players who need the experience of playing in Europe.

"Now is not the moment to say only Premier League or FA Cup. We need to believe. In every competition we play we can win."

Pochettino confirmed that centre-back Toby Alderweireld will return to the squad for the first time since 15 October after returning from a knee injury.

Spurs will be without defener Ben Davies and striker Vincent Janssen who are both suffering from knee injuries, while winger Erik Lamela has flown home to Argentina to visit his brother who is in hospital.

"Toby will be involved in the squad tomorrow. We're happy. He is recovering well," said Pochettino.

"It's important for him after two months to be involved in the squad. Tomorrow, maybe he will be on the bench, it is important for him to recover that feeling.

"Then we'll decide if he will be in the starting XI or on the bench against Manchester United. It's about performance, it's about feeling, it's about how we assess him."

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