February 8, 2018 / 3:04 PM / a year ago

Spurs have conquered their Wembley hoodoo, says Pochettino

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino believes his players have adapted well to playing at Wembley and will be ready to express themselves in a “special” north London derby against Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - February 4, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino gestures Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Spurs, who have moved to Wembley while their White Hart Lane ground is redeveloped, had struggled at the national stadium in recent years with the larger pitch seemingly not suiting Pochettino’s preferred high-pressing style.

Last season they played their home Champions League matches at Wembley, losing two out of three.

This season they lost their opening home league game against Chelsea in August but have since remained unbeaten in 12 matches, winning eight of them.

“I think seven months after playing at Wembley we are starting to feel very good there,” Pochettino told reporters on Thursday.

“We don’t have another place to play — it is only Wembley. It will be a different game than we played before. It is always special, when you play the derby.

“I think Arsenal will be tough to play because they have good quality, talented players and are one of the best teams in the Premier League.”

Pochettino was pleased with the return of defender Toby Alderweireld, who played 90 minutes in Tottenham’s 2-0 FA Cup replay win over Newport County on Wednesday.

It was the 28-year-old Belgian’s first appearance since picking up a hamstring injury in November and the manager confirmed a late decision will be made on whether the centre back will start against Arsenal.

Spurs, currently fifth in the league, have an opportunity to open up a seven-point advantage over sixth-placed Arsenal.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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