Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham’s move into their new stadium means they now have to behave like a big club in other areas.
In the shape of their impeccable new 62,062-seater home and their superb training ground, Spurs’ infrastructure is among the best in Europe, but that is not matched by their investment in their playing squad.
While they have had a £1billion stadium to pay for, they have gone through the last two transfer windows without making a signing and their wage bill is nothing like their other top-four rivals.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial)April 2, 2019
On the eve of Spurs’ return home, Pochettino delivered a message for chairman Daniel Levy that echoed the one he made at the end of last season, when he told the club to be “brave and take risks”.
He spoke of how it was time for a new chapter, having done good on his original brief of being an established member of the Premier League top four by the time their new stadium was built.
“If we want to challenge the big clubs in Europe because now it looks like when you arrive at the stadium it looks like a big club,” Pochettino said.
“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, 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, it’s just describing the situation in terms of what has happened.”
Pochettino used Tottenham’s most recent opponents Liverpool, who they lost 2-1 to on Sunday, as an example to highlight what he thinks Spurs need to do.
He said: “I was talking with Daniel after the Liverpool game and sometimes people compare us with Liverpool. (Virgil) Van Dijk was £75million 18 months ago. The keeper (Allison) was £70million.
“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.
“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 to five years.
“And we are there. We must be clever in how we are going to start and project and the vision for the future of the club. Because when we arrive at the stadium we can say, ‘Now we are in a massive club’ but after 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.”