Mauricio Pochettino admits it has been difficult for his Tottenham squad this season as they feel like they are always playing away from home.
Spurs will play their eighth away match of the season against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, having only had five at home. Even then, one of those “home” matches took place in Milton Keynes, while the other four were played at Wembley due to the ongoing delays in the construction of the north Londoners’ new ground.
“It’s true it’s difficult to play with that feeling that you always play away from home,” said Pochettino. “But that is the circumstance that we’ve talked about in the last few weeks, the last year, the last two years — that we need to manage and are managing a lot of different things that, sure, in the future will be completely different.
“Yes, when we signed our contracts [in the summer] we expected a tough period, but it’s tougher than we believed. We are spending more time than we think [away from home]. It’s sure that someone will benefit from our patience, our job, and playing many games away from home.”
Tottenham and PSV are both yet to secure a point in Group B of the Champions League, leaving them both with little margin for error as they prepare to go head to head.
“They’re a very good team, a very offensive team with a lot of quality players,” said Pochettino. “They’re doing fantastically in their domestic league. Of course they struggle like us in the Champions League. It makes it a difficult game because we both need to win. We need to play thinking it’s so important to get the three points if we want to be alive in this competition.
“My approach is always it’s a must-win game. Today, playing professional football is about playing under stress and I don’t believe tomorrow will be different.”
Spurs finished top of a Champions League group including the holders Real Madrid last season, en route to a narrow defeat to Juventus in the round of 16. But Pochettino said: “I think it’s not a setback if we’re not in the next stage of the Champions League. It would only be a situation that can happen.
“Of course last season we were in a very good situation in that moment. Today it’s not like last season, but every season is different. I don’t feel that [it would be a step backwards].”