Sunday 24 September 2017 / 05:59 AM

SPURS MUST ARREST WEMBLEY WOES

Just like the previous week, Mauricio Pochettino was quick to remove ‘Wembley’ as one of the reasons for Spurs’ failure to collect three points ‘at home’.

And he has a point.

It wasn’t specifically ‘Wembley’ that resulted in Marcus Alonso curling in a perfect free-kick that Hugo Lloris could do nothing about, setting the tone for Chelsea’s win last week.

It wasn’t ‘Wembley’ that saw Chris Wood make that perfect run into Spurs’ box to secure a point for Burnley.

And yet, Tottenham’s ‘Wembley Woes’ are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Their record at the national stadium truly is woeful, and unless they are able to get a good result in their next couple of games, things will only get worse.

The trouble is, their next game at Wembley is in the Champions League, against Borussia Dortmund – not exactly a walk in the park by anyone’s standards.

Lose that, and the media really will be on Tottenham’s backs, the atmosphere with grow ever tenser, and Spurs’ hopes of a positive season at Wembley may well evaporate.

It is here that Pochettino must earn his money.

The manager has done a fantastic job at Tottenham so far.

He’s pulled them out of the funk they had been in since Harry Redknapp was given his marching orders, and he has drilled into them an exciting, fluid gameplan.

But now it’s time for him to play psychologist, not just tactician.

Whatever the Argentine says, what is clear is that Spurs do not play with the same freedom at Wembley as they did at White Hart Lane.

Only three games in, Tottenham have lost the same number of points at home than they did in the whole of last season.

Maybe it’s because the pitch is bigger.

Maybe it’s because the atmosphere isn’t what it was at White Hart Lane.

Maybe it’s because of any number of variables.

What’s important is showing the players how to rise above these difficulties and play the same game, regardless of the stadium they play in.

Without being dramatic, this season is pivotal for Tottenham.

With a new 61,000-seat stadium to move into next year, Spurs must ensure that the transition does not hit them too hard.

Their star players – the likes of Alli, Eriksen and Kane – must finish the season feeling like it’s worth their while to stay with the club.

If their Wembley woes continue, if they drop out of the Champions League, if they have a season in the doldrums, then the players WILL want out – that’s just the reality of modern football.

And if this current crop decides to leave en masse, Pochettino will have a serious job on his hands; provided he doesn’t leave too, of course.

Pochettino must find the answer to this conundrum sooner rather than later, or risk his whole project unravelling before his very eyes.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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