Wembley grass needs more time to grow, admits Tottenham manager
PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 October 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
The Spurs boss refuses to make excuses regarding the surface at the national stadium and talks Erik Lamela
The Wembley Stadium pitch will once again be a little worse for wear on Saturday when Tottenham Hotspur host Cardiff City in the Premier League, says Mauricio Pochettino.
While Spurs and Barcelona produced an epic encounter on Wednesday in Group B of the Champions League, the surface in Brent failed to match the quality of the goals on the night.
It finished 4-2 to the visitors despite Harry Kane and Erik Lamela strikes, but a lot of talk before the game centred the Wembley pitch with the grass brown in patches.
Unfortunately it is partly down to the fact on Anthony Joshua fought Alexander Povetkin there on September 22 for his heavyweight world title and also the fact the venue was not expecting to host Spurs matches.
When quizzed about the state of the surface, Pochettino said: “I think for both teams the pitch wasn’t great, but I think for Barcelona it was worse because in the history of football Barcelona always try to play along the grass.
“I’m not going to complain about the pitch. Of course you understand that it wasn’t in the plan to play this type of game in this period at Wembley.
“What can we do? Nothing, because this period the grass needs to grow, so it needs more time than we gave because the boxing was here ten days ago and it’s impossible to put it into a better condition for this game or Saturday’s too.”
After such a demanding effort against Barcelona on Wednesday, Pochettino may have to make changes for the visit of Cardiff.
He was forced to bring off Lamela towards the end of the Group B clash, but it seems it was only due to cramp.
The form of the Argentinean, in his sixth season as Spurs, has been a real positive for Tottenham in the opening months of the campaign.
But Pochettino is not surprised having made Lamela a crucial cog in his team before the 26-year-old suffered a long-standing hip injury.
“I have 24 to 25 players. Sometimes one player needs to wait. Football is about performance. It’s about form and from the player it’s about many things that in ten months we are going to compete,” Tottenham’s manager said.
“Always we have up and down in the form of the players, but of course Lamela is a player we expect a lot from him.
“For him, after one year he was injured and suffered two surgeries. I think step by step he’s feeling better and of course we need to manage and handle him in a different way maybe to other players.
“But we accept that situation and always we are hoping that he’s going to be important and help the team in the future.”