Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says the club have been vindicated in their decision to move into their new stadium this season after they enjoyed a historic homecoming.
Spurs finally got to play in their majestic new home eight months later than originally planned and they produced the perfect housewarming gift as they beat Crystal Palace 2-0.
Son Heung-min created a slice of history with the first competitive goal at the stadium, with Christian Eriksen adding a second late on to help Spurs to a first win in six Premier League games.
It was a battle for the club to make it in to their new home this season, amid a seemingly never-ending run of delays, and some people suggested they should have waited until next year to move in.
But Pochettino was the biggest cheerleader for playing there as soon as possible and knows after just one game that it was the right decision.
“That is our second day at the stadium for us and the players but it starts to feel like home,” he said.
“It is going to be such an important place for the future and of course I think we were right to move here.
“With all the risk, of course, but I think in football if you want to achieve important things you need to be brave and we were brave moving and starting to play this season.”
The timing of it could not be better as Pochettino’s men were on a five-game winless run that threatened to cripple their top-four hopes.
But the three points moved them back up to third and with four of their last six games at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Pochettino hopes it can help his side over the line.
“For sure for the opponent it is going to be difficult,” he added. “If like me I am the manager of Tottenham or I am playing for Tottenham, you adapt so quickly in this atmosphere and I think it was amazing.
“It is impossible not to be affected by your fans, the energy and emotion to be there and run, shoot, save and tackle.
“If you are not motivated to play in this type of atmosphere something wrong happened in your head. For sure it is going to be tough for the opponent.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Pep Guardiola has warned Benjamin Mendy there are no guarantees of a place in the Manchester City side for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton.
Quadruple-chasing City will need to make a change at left-back for Saturday’s clash at Wembley after Oleksandr Zinchenko limped off during Wednesday’s 2-0 Premier League victory over relegation-threatened Cardiff.
The result took City back to the top of the table, a point above title rivals Liverpool with six games remaining.
Zinchenko, who has established himself as first-choice left-back in the absences of Mendy and Fabian Delph this season, lasted just 19 minutes before succumbing to a hamstring injury.
Danilo switched from right-back to cover but Guardiola admits the Brazilian is not a natural in the position.
That raises the possibility of a recall for £49.1million man Mendy, who is now fully recovered from the knee injury that has kept him out for most of the last five months but appears out of favour.
The 24-year-old was the subject of disciplinary action earlier this season when he reported late for treatment after attending a high-profile boxing event the previous evening.
Further questions of Mendy’s status were asked this week after the Frenchman was spotted in a nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Guardiola said: “Zinchenko gave us a lot and he is an important player for us. He knows the mechanisms, he knows the way we want to play.
“But during the season this kind of thing happens if you play a lot of minutes. You accept it and we are going to find a solution. I don’t know right now which one because Danilo fought a lot to play in that position. I appreciate that a lot.
“It’s not his natural position but he fought a lot. We’ll see the decision we will take for the FA Cup semi-final.”
Asked about Mendy’s prospects, Guardiola said: “We’ll see how he feels, how he trains. We don’t have many options.”
City were without top scorer Sergio Aguero against Cardiff and, with Wembley in mind, made seven changes in total.
Yet they were still far too strong for the Bluebirds, who are now five points adrift of safety with no games in hand on any of their relegation rivals.
Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane early and late in the first half proved enough, although dominant City racked up 27 attempts on goal.
A handful of them came from impressive youngster Phil Foden, including one shot against the post, on what was the 18-year-old’s long-awaited first Premier League start.
“Phil, we know it, he’s young but he can do everything,” said Guardiola. “For the next decade, he will be important.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expressed his disapproval but said he was “relaxed” at the news that a video had been published showing French defender Benjamin Mendy in a Manchester nightclub at 03:30am (local time) on Saturday.
“I’m not his father,” Guardiola said. “I would prefer him to go to sleep earlier but I don’t control the players in that situation.”
Mendy, who has been plagued by injury since he joined City from Monaco for $68.51 million in July 2017, was not part of Guardiola’s squad that travelled to London and beat Fulham 2-0 on Saturday.
However, the player has been in trouble with the club before.
He was disciplined last September when he reported late for treatment on a foot injury – he had attended a high-profile boxing event in London the night before.
Check out Guardiola’s full thoughts in the video above – and the incriminating footage of Mendy below …
Here's a video of Mendy at Club Liv in town that I've just been sent - although proof hardly needed at this point. pic.twitter.com/5tLswnrC64— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) April 2, 2019