Mauricio Pochettino dismissed any notion of a ‘Wembley effect’ after Tottenham suffered a sapping 2-1 Premier League defeat to champions Chelsea.
Marcos Alonso fired an 88th-minute winner after Spurs briefly pulled level — Michy Batshuayi’s own goal cancelling out the Spanish wing-back’s free-kick from before the interval.
It meant a losing start to life at Spurs’ temporary home while the new White Hart Lane is finished and maintained an unenviable return at the national stadium, where their Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup hopes were all extinguished last season.
“It doesn’t affect me,” Pochettino told a post-match news conference. “But I understand that we need to talk and everyone needs to talk.
“I think the ‘Wembley effect’ is not the reason we lost the game. The team played really well.
“It’s not fair to blame again Wembley because, for me, Wembley is one of the best places in the world. One of the best places to play football.”
On a follow-up question regarding the different pitch dimensions at Wembley when compared to the smaller White Hart Lane, Pochettino chuckled and replied: “Please. We need to stop.
“I think today it was clear: if you love football and watch football, and want to watch the game again.
“You will see that Wembley was not the problem. The size of the pitch? We played better and created chances to score. But that’s football.
“We have to accept they were more clinical than us in front of goal. The opportunities we created, we didn’t score.
“But the most important thing is the performance. It’s only the beginning of the season, a lot of games to play. If we play that way, we’ll win a lot of games in the future.”
Mauricio: “The performance was very good, but they scored at the key moment. I think the team felt very comfortable at Wembley.” #COYSpic.twitter.com/cMOUKjDEzO
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 20, 2017
Tottenham made most of the running in an attacking sense, with Harry Kane striking the base of the post in the 42nd minute as the anomaly of the England forward failing to net a Premier League goal in August remained.
Alonso’s goals were Chelsea’s only two shots on target and Pochettino added: “I am disappointed because I think we deserved more. Our performance was good.
“I think I am happy with the performance of the team. We played a good game, created the most chances.
“But they were clinical in front of goal. They shot twice and scored twice. For us, it was difficult to score.”