Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to blame Wembley for his side’s defeat to Chelsea despite Spurs beginning Premier League life at their temporary home with an inauspicious loss.
The north London club have now lost seven of their previous 10 matches at Wembley – a statistic completely at odds with their record at White Hart Lane.
Playing at the national stadium has been cited as a potential stumbling block to Tottenham’s ambitions of winning their first top-flight title since 1961 this season. Their latest defeat there has only intensified those claims.
“The ‘Wembley effect’ is not the reason. The team played really well and it is not fair to blame Wembley because Wembley is one of the best, if not the best, places to play football,” said Pochettino.
“We need to stop. I think today it was clear. If you love football and watch football, you will see that Wembley was not the problem. The size of the pitch? We played better and created chances to score.
“We were much better than Chelsea but we have to accept they were more clinical than us in front of goal. It’s only the beginning of the season, a lot of games are left to play. If we play that way, we’ll win a lot of games.”
Pochettino cut an upbeat figure in the aftermath of his team’s defeat and insisted that Spurs, boosted by the £42m club-record signing of Davinson Sanchez from Ajax on Friday, will challenge for honours this season.
“We are in a much better position than at the start of last season,” added Pochettino. “The team is one step higher than last season. It is disappointing to lose our first home game but the character and performance was there.”