PO­CHET­TINO MAKES TI­TLE PLEDGE

Tot­ten­ham man­ager fore­sees golden fu­ture at Wem­b­ley

New Straits Times - - Sport - LON­DON

MAURI­CIO Po­chet­tino de­scribed Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s fi­nal day at White Hart Lane as “per­fect“, but said mov­ing into their new sta­dium would take the club to the next level.

Lo­cal hero Harry Kane scored the de­ci­sive goal as Tot­ten­ham beat Manch­ester United 2-1 on Sun­day in their last game at the Lane, which is due to be de­mol­ished and re­built in time for the 2018-19 sea­son.

The game was fol­lowed by a pitch in­va­sion and then a cer­e­mony in­volv­ing Spurs greats from yes­ter­year, a rain­bow break­ing through the clouds with per­fect tim­ing as a shower of white tick­er­tape brought the fes­tiv­i­ties to a close.

“I think for me the most spe­cial day will al­ways be the last day at White Hart Lane,” Spurs man­ager Po­chet­tino said.

“For me it was a very ex­cit­ing day be­cause I think it was per­fect. The prepa­ra­tion of the game, the game, we played well and we got the three points.

“And at the end the cer­e­mony was fan­tas­tic to share with all the le­gends, the peo­ple, the staff, the fans, the fam­ily.”

Po­chet­tino’s side will play at Wem­b­ley next sea­son be­fore re­turn­ing to their new 61,559seater sta­dium, which is al­ready tak­ing shape be­side the Lane.

Spurs have twice come close to the Premier League ti­tle in the last two sea­sons, los­ing out to Le­ices­ter City last sea­son and Chelsea this.

But de­spite ad­mit­ting to feel­ing “sad and dis­ap­pointed” about Spurs’ lat­est brush with glory, Po­chet­tino be­lieves even brighter days lie ahead.

“We were talk­ing a lot. We be­lieve that when the new sta­dium opens the door, it will help the club to reach the last level,” said the Ar­gen­tine. “That is our ex­pec­ta­tion. That is our idea. The fa­cil­i­ties, the train­ing ground, the new fa­cil­i­ties with the new sta­dium will put the team and the club in the last level in Europe.”

It was Spurs’ 14th suc­ces­sive home league win — equalling the club record, set over two sea­sons in 1987 — and con­firmed they will end the sea­son in sec­ond place, their high­est plac­ing since a run­ners-up fin­ish in 1963.

United, mean­while, are now as­sured of fin­ish­ing out­side the top four, mean­ing they must beat Ajax in the Europa League fi­nal in Stock­holm on May 24 to se­cure a place in the Cham­pi­ons League.

With man­ager Jose Mour­inho pri­ori­tis­ing the Europa League cam­paign, he has fielded weak­ened teams in United’s last two league games — the de­feat at Spurs and a 2-0 loss at Arse­nal.

But with in­juries bit­ing at Old Traf­ford, he said the quest for glory in Europe had left him with no al­ter­na­tives.

“I don’t know other clubs. I don’t know the way they think. I don’t know what is im­por­tant for them,” said Mour­inho, whose side visit Southamp­ton to­mor­row.

“For Manch­ester United, it’s more im­por­tant to win ti­tles than to fin­ish top four.

“Other clubs fin­ish­ing in the top four, prob­a­bly they would like to be in our po­si­tion, to try to fight for a ti­tle.” AFP

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