Mauricio Pochettino has insisted he is ‘very confident’ that Tottenham will be able to finally move into its new home by Christmas, after positive talks with chairman Daniel Levy.
The 62,062-seat stadium was expected to be open and ready to host Spurs’ clash with Liverpool in September, but issues with the ‘critical safety systems’ of the stadium delayed proceedings. Pochettino's side subsequently played Liverpool at Wembley where they were beaten 1-2.
Gloomy reports about the stadium's delays and spiralling costs have continued since, while Spurs must now play a ‘home match’ at Stadium MK in the Carabao Cup clash with Watford on Wednesday night.
However, when asked about the stadium’s opening amid concerns over its progress, manager Pochettino said, via the Evening Standard: “I am confident. This year.
“I am confident this year. I had some private conversation with Daniel – no not private Jesus [Perez, Spurs assistant manager] was there!
“I think they are confident. They are working hard to try to find the solution. I hope before the year, before Christmas, we can play, that’s my wish.
“It will be a big boost for everyone. [Levy and me] have conversations every day. He called me this morning before training and yesterday we took a coffee here at the restaurant. Yes, it’s tough!
“Sometimes he tells me, sometimes he opens the conversation about the stadium, sometimes I open the conversation and say ‘Daniel, how is the stadium?’ and sometimes it’s tough to explain.
“But yes we hope and we heard before. I am very confident before the year. I hope that after that comment Daniel doesn’t kill me tomorrow: why you put this expectation on me? He’s going to kill me!”
Pochettino’s spirited comments may relieve some of the tension which has permeated Spurs’ season so far, with mixed results and frustrations over the failure to move into their new stadium as yet stirring the pot in a tough start to the campaign for Pochettino’s side.
Tottenham will play their next two home games in the Premier League at Wembley Stadium, their temporary home of last season, with all three of their Champions League group matches at home also set to be played at the national stadium.
Their travel to the Stadium MK, however, 50 miles outside London, to host Watford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday is arguably the worst case of makeshift arrangements from the club as their stadium struggles continue.
The cup tie on Wednesday will mark 500 days since Spurs played their final match at White Hart Lane and Tottenham fans will be encouraged by Pochettino’s words as they continue their long wait to return to the area.
The Spurs boss added, via BBC: “If I have to help finish it to keep the supporters happy, I will.
“Of course we feel disappointed for our fans but they need to understand that it is a venue for the rest of our lives and for the next generations. It is so important to finish it in the right way.”