Football: Wembley 'home' no advantage for Spurs against United, says Pochettino

Tottenham players ahead of playing Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, April 14,  2018.
Tottenham players ahead of playing Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, April 14, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino denies his team will gain an advantage by playing Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at their temporary Wembley home.

Spurs, who are using the national stadium this season while their new 61,500-seater stadium is being built, have turned Wembley into a fortress, suffering just two Premier League defeats there all season, and beating Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Arsenal and United.

Defender Jan Vertonghen suggested Spurs can benefit from their familiarity with the stadium but Pochettino said Jose Mourinho's side have plenty of experience of their own at the venue.

"Of course, we feel at home," he told a news conference on Thursday (April 19).

"But it's different to when we play in the Premier League.

"I don't believe (we will have an advantage) because Manchester United have the experience (of playing) at Wembley, too. It's not an event just for us.

"I think it will be a typical cup game at Wembley - half Tottenham and half Manchester United. I don't believe we are going to have some advantage for that."

It will be United's 29th appearance in an FA Cup semi-final, with their most recent win in the competition coming in 2016.

Tottenham, who last lifted the trophy in 1991, have suffered defeats in each of their last seven semi-finals in the competition.

Pochettino confirmed he had yet to make a decision on who would start in goal against United.

Dutch goalkeeper Michel Vorm has started in every round of the competition so far this season and could be expected to feature again.

Meanwhile, first-choice shot-stopper Hugo Lloris has come under scrutiny for a reckless lunge on Raheem Sterling which handed Manchester City a penalty in Spurs' 3-1 Premier League defeat last weekend.

"For me it wasn't a mistake but I respect all opinions," Pochettino added.

"No doubt he is one of the best keepers and he has shown that over the last four years with us. For us always every season (he) was improving and I think we have luck to have Hugo Lloris in goal."