Ahead of Tottenham Hotspur playing in their new stadium, manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his players to think and behave like a big club.
Spurs are set to play in their new stadium against Crystal Palace in an important match for their UEFA Champions League hopes for the next season and Pochettino knows that this will transform the club into new heights.
While Pochettino knows that their spending is still far behind from the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, he feels that playing in the new stadium will give them the opportunity to battle big European squads.
“Now, when you arrive here, it looks like a big club. Before you could say: ‘Yeah, but the stadium only holds 36,000’. But now, when you arrive here there is no point in thinking like a small club. You must think like a big club. But for sure to be close to the big clubs, the way that the big clubs think.
“If you want to compare to Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus or Real Madrid, you can’t think you are Tottenham with 36,000. We need to think like a big club and that is the most important step that we need to make. Of course, you say to me: ‘With you? Without you?’ I don’t know. That is about Daniel.
“But I think my responsibility, like it was five years ago, is to tell the club: ‘Now, we’ve finished the new stadium, we are going to think like a big club. What does it mean to think like a big club?’ That is what we have to discuss about the project. It’s normal, isn’t it? Nothing wrong, its just describing the situation in terms of what has happened.
“My project, when I started five years ago, was to arrive in the new stadium and try to be a competitive team in year two and then be in the Champions League. We are ahead [of schedule] now. In the new stadium we will play in the Champions League.
“Over the next five years in my mind we are going to finish [the chapter] and we need to close the chapters and we need to start thinking we are a club in different dimensions – we are not in Chigwell any more we are not at White Hart Lane with 36,000. The magnitude of the club has grown 10 times, 100 times. We are in another dimension. We cannot operate in the same way as five years ago – we are a different dimension.”
Following their 2-1 loss to Liverpool in the Premier League, many have compared the two sides but Pochettino revealed that the Merseyside club’s spending is big compared to what they have.
“I was talking with Daniel after the Liverpool game and sometimes people compare us with Liverpool and say the very good action of [Virgil] van Dijk. Van Dijk was £75m 18 months ago. The keeper [Alisson Becker] was £70m. They had two midfielders on the bench who they spent more than £100m on in the summer.
“The people sometimes say an opinion of Tottenham is like Liverpool. In what? Yes now we are going to be better than Liverpool because we have a better stadium and better training ground. Yes but now is another thing to compete as we need to operate maybe similar to them in the future or not. We will see which is the project.
“But the effort we were doing – first the chairman, the fans, the players and the staff – to be now sitting here is massive. And when you look back for a few games that in the past few weeks that we were not good. And in the last game we deserved much more against a team that is building and competing to win the Champions League and Premier League but with pressure as they invest a lot in the last four-five years. And we are there. It is a massive point to be so happy. But thinking that we must be clever in how we are going to start and project and the vision for the future of the club.
“Now we need to behave like a big club in every single aspect and every single department. That is only my point when I talk with Daniel.
“But I feel more than proud sitting with you after five years to say ‘job done’ we are here, we are in the Champions League, we are in the top four when no one believed that five years ago when it was only to reduce the gap with the big clubs. No one believed when we explained five years ago that we are going to do this and that and be contenders and we are going to compete. I think that the people start to write that this guy what does he smoke and what pills does he take.”
As for the summer and whether Spurs will be spending big, Pochettino said: “It’s going to be massive.”
When asked if it was the biggest, he said: “Yes.”