Mauricio Pochettino: Wembley pitch will help Tottenham in UCL
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino believes Wembley's spacious pitch will prove an advantage for Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League as they prepare for "an emotional" European debut at the stadium.
Tottenham will play this season's continental games at Wembley while building work continues on White Hart Lane, and the national stadium's pitch is considerably bigger than their usual home -- 105 metres by 69 metres, compared to 100 metres by 67 metres.
Spurs have trained at the 90,000-seater venue just once ahead of their Champions League group-stage opener against Monaco on Wednesday, but Pochettino believes the change of location could benefit his side.
"It was impossible to have more training sessions at Wembley, but I'm happy," Pochettino told a news conference. "Maybe it's a little bit bigger than White Hart Lane but in the end it's football, so we need to enjoy it and play better than Monaco.
"It's not a problem -- it can help a team that's used to playing along the grass, in possession. A team that builds from the back like us has more space, more possibilities to play, and it's difficult for the opponent to press you. We train a lot, we run a lot in training every day, there's no worries about our physical condition.
"It's not a problem today. Maybe tomorrow after the game, it's a problem and we need to find a solution. We cannot talk about problems when nothing has happened yet. We need to go to Wembley to play, behave naturally and try to win games.
"We try not to find an excuse, that's never good. We need to play and try to beat Monaco. That's the most important thing."
Despite Spurs' lack of practice at Wembley, Pochettino revealed they have adapted a training pitch at Hotspur Way, their Enfield base, to mirror the national stadium's pitch.
"We designed a pitch with the same dimensions as Wembley," he said. "We change [training pitches] because we need to keep the grass at a good level, but we use different surfaces during the week, on different days.
"Always we trust in ourselves, we believe in the way that we play. I think it's a good chance to play on a big pitch. We need to adapt our game -- we need to feel good in White Hart Lane because it's our home but we need to feel good at Wembley too.
"For both, it's the same. I like to play at White Hart Lane and I will enjoy playing at Wembley."
Spurs have sold over 80,000 tickets for the Monaco match, setting a new home attendance record for the club and for a home Champions League game in the UK.
Pochettino believes the club's first Champions League match since April 2011 -- when they lost to Real Madrid in the quarterfinals in their only other foray in the competition -- will be "emotional."
"It will be a fantastic moment to share with our fans and all our players are very excited to play, and very motivated," Pochettino said. "It's a good opportunity to share with nearly 90,000 Tottenham fans. It's an historic moment for us to share. We'll try to enjoy it and try to win the game, because that's the important thing.
"For all, it'll be an exciting moment to play with Tottenham in the Champions League. It'll be difficult to describe the feeling. Today, when we were training with the Champions League ball and bibs, it was exciting for all.
"Tomorrow in Wembley, with nearly 90,000 fans, it'll be fantastic. I can't imagine the moment when we're in the tunnel going onto the pitch -- it'll be an emotional moment."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.