Pochettino bemoans Chelsea's 'advantage'

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has started the mind games ahead of Tottenham's match at Chelsea today by saying their London rivals' place at the top of the Premier League is down to their easier fixture schedule.

The Spurs coach said Chelsea have little excuse for not doing well, without the demands of European football.

Pochettino expects his side to make up the four-point gap between them and the league leaders when they are on a level playing field during winter.

While Chelsea have had a clear week to prepare after beating Middlesbrough on Sunday, Tottenham returned from playing in Monaco on Wednesday in a fifth Champions League game.

Pochettino said: "Always you have an advantage if you are ready after you finish the game on Saturday or Sunday - like Chelsea - you are focusing on Tottenham.

"They have time to train and develop their philosophy. It is obvious and nobody can be disappointed or upset with my idea."

After Chelsea play away against Manchester City next Saturday, they would have played every side in the present top seven. They have won the most recent two of those meetings against Manchester United and Everton, losing the others.

"They are, not only in England but in Europe, the team most in form today," Pochettino said.

The Argentinian warned his players to get used to playing at Wembley after he confirmed potential Europa League games would be staged there.

Spurs will move to the national stadium for the whole of next season. He wants them to overcome the issues they faced playing there in this season's Champions League, during which they lost both home games, leading to their early exit.

"If we are in the Europa League, we will play at Wembley and then we need to make Wembley our home," Pochettino said.

"It's a good opportunity. Next season we need to play 19 games, and Cups and European competition there. We need to think of Wembley as our home and avoid all of the negative things about it. We cannot complain next season."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Pochettino bemoans Chelsea's 'advantage''. Print Edition | Subscribe