Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino expects the Wembley pitch to be in playable condition for their Premier League clash with Manchester City on Monday. Spurs face the champions under the arch just 24 hours after the NFL match between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Playing the game on Monday night was Tottenham’s only option as their new stadium is not ready, with the club today announcing further delays until 2019. NFL games have left the Wembley turf in bad condition in the past, but the Spurs boss is confident the groundstaff can do a good job, though he joked it might benefit his team if they do not. “Maybe it is good for us because we are going to face one of the best teams in Europe and the world in Manchester City and maybe it will help us,” he said. “It wasn’t a plan for us to play in that period at Wembley and now we cannot complain.
“Only we need to accept the reality and know that we cannot change that. “We hope that the weather will be good and not kill the pitch and we can play in a very good condition. “I am sure all the people that are involved in the pitch are going to work so hard to get it in a really good condition. That is my wish and I hope it can happen.”
The rearranged fixture comes just 48 hours before Spurs have to go to West Ham in the Carabao Cup and is one of five games in 12 days. Pochettino accepts the packed schedule is in part due to their stadium delay and is not making excuses. “That is not the ideal situation to compete, we have a problem, we create the problem and we need to sort the problem,” he added. “We can’t complain, we are a little bit unlucky that the stadium is not finished.
“It was not the plan to be at Wembley, different things can happen like the NFL and you cannot change the date and we need to accept that as reality and not complain.” City boss Pep Guardiola accepts the solution is not ideal but will not hold back any players, including Kevin De Bruyne, who only made his first start after two months out injured in midweek. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the City boss said: “It’s what it is. I’m pretty sure Tottenham have a good greenkeeper.
“I’m pretty sure the Premier League don’t like it, Tottenham too, but hopefully Tottenham can finish the stadium as quickly as possible. It’s not necessary to complain, we have to adapt quickly, try to figure it out. It will not be perfect but we have to adapt and play in that way.”