Well, that didn’t take long. Tottenham Hotspur manager refuted the notion, reported in the Guardian yesterday, that Spurs might return to White Hart Lane to play home matches in the Europa League. The manager stated, fairly definitively, that Spurs will play their European home matches at Wembley Stadium, and dismissed the comments from Moussa Sissoko who stated that Spurs should return home.
"The player needs to focus on playing," he said. "We will play the Europa League in Wembley and we need to make it our home.
"Next season we need to play 19 [league] games and European competition [at Wembley].
"We need to make it our home. Never, never [we will move venues] - we will play in Wembley."
Poche has a point here: while the Guardian (dramatically!) hinted that no formal agreement was in place for Spurs to move to Wembley for all matches next season, that has always pretty much been the plan and there doesn’t seem to be much evidence to the contrary. In that light, Spurs probably need to play as many matches at Wembley as they can so they can get used to the stadium and the pitch size, which is larger than at White Hart Lane.
Enthusiasm for Europa League matches is likely to be less than the Champions League because duh, but Spurs can also do things like not use the upper tier of Wembley Stadium if ticket sales aren’t as robust as they were for the Champions League. Besides, if Spurs suddenly decided to abandon the year at Wembley idea, it would probably mean a return to stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, and that’s a can of worms that the club most assuredly doesn’t want to re-open.
This is also a pretty comprehensive smack-down of Sissoko. “The player needs to focus on playing”? Ouch. Poche isn’t wrong here, either.