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Pochettino: It is no tougher playing Monaco than Stoke

Tottenham Hotspur may have re-created the Wembley pitch in training and been excited to use the Champions League balls.

Published: 14th September 2016 08:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2016 08:36 AM   |  A+A-

Britain Soccer Premie_Mukh (2)

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino looks across the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane in London. |A P

Tottenham Hotspur may have re-created the Wembley pitch in training and been excited to use the Champions League balls and bibs this week, but manager Mauricio Pochettino does not believe the group stage represents a significantly bigger challenge than facing Stoke City.

Spurs' victory at the Bet365 Stadium was not on the cliched cold Tuesday night, but Pochettino claims performances such as the one at the weekend demonstrate that Spurs are ready for the Champions League, and the visit of Monaco to their new European home at Wembley.

"When you're a manager in the Premier League you prove if you're good or not, because the Premier League is the toughest competition in the world," said Pochettino.

"When you compete against Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, we're talking about the top clubs in the world. In the Champions League, we play Monaco, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen, and it's just as tough to play against Monaco as it is to play against Stoke, in Stoke. There is nothing to prove."

Tottenham's marketing department may not appreciate Pochet-tino comparing the Monaco game to a trip to Stoke, as the club attempt to convince supporters that Wembley can be a home from home.

It is anticipated that around 85,000 people will attend tonight's game, when Tottenham will light up the Wembley arch and adorn lampposts on Olympic Way in club colours to make the White Hart Lane regulars feel welcome.

Pochettino has trained with his players only once at Wembley, three weeks ago, but the Argentine had two pitches drawn up to match the dimensions of the surface at the national stadium, at Tottenham's Enfield training ground.

"With two pitches, we designed the same dimensions as Wembley," said Pochettino. "We change between the pitches to keep the grass at a good level. We use different pitches on different days during the week.

"You have more space to play, it's more difficult for the opponent to press you when there are more metres to run, but it is the same for both.

"We believe in the way we play, and it's a good chance to play on a big pitch. We need to adapt our game. We feel good at White Hart Lane because it's our home, and we need to feel good at Wembley."

This is certainly an exciting time for Tottenham, who confirmed that England midfielder Eric Dier has finally signed a new five-year contract. The club are also close to agreeing new deals with Danny Rose, Kyle Walker, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen.

"We have a very good relationship, all the players here," said Dier. "We're a good group and we are ambitious and looking forward. The club, the training ground, the new stadium's on its way - it's a fantastic time for the club.

"We're very excited to play Champions League football. It's the highest level of club football, so everyone's very excited, and for it to be at Wembley is going to be very special.

"Quite a few of the players have played there already in international matches, and we played there a couple of years ago in the League Cup final as well. We've trained there, everyone's used to the surroundings and very excited, because it's a prestigious stadium. Hopefully, we can create some very good memories for Tottenham fans."

Asked about the importance of securing the likes of Dier on new deals, Pochettino added: "It is always important to keep your best players and English talent. We negotiate for a long time and it is fantastic news. Maybe in the next few days, there will be another player with the same news as Dier.

"It is very important for the club, not only me. It is important we show our commitment, and the player has to show his commitment for the future."

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