Wembley experiment starts badly as Spurs lose to Monaco

Mauricio Pochettino refuses to make excuses as Tottenham lose in front of record crowd of 85,000

Toby Alderweireld of Spurs in action at Wembley
(Image credit: Getty)

Spurs 1 Monaco 2

Spurs began their residency at Wembley Stadium with a chastening defeat to Monaco in the Champions League.

Tottenham have elected to play their European games away from White Hart Lane this season as work begins on the redevelopment of their ground.

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But hopes that they would fare better than local rivals Arsenal, who tried something similar in the 1990s, were dashed as the French side weathered the early Spurs storm before going 2-0 up thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva, who capitalised on an error by Erik Lamela, and substitute Thomas Lemar.

Toby Alderweireld pulled one back for the home side just before half time but Monaco held on to win 2-1.

"On nights like this, it feels like there really is no place like home, with Tottenham's setback calling to mind Arsenal's various painful experiences when playing Champions League games at Wembley in the late 1990s," says Oliver Kay of The Times.

"Tottenham and their supporters did everything they could to make themselves at home, but, in front of a record-breaking crowd of 85,011, their party was well and truly pooped by Monaco". The fans "will wonder whether it would have been a different outcome at White Hart Lane".

Manager Mauricio Pochettino dismissed such talk, however, insisting there were "no excuses" for a limp Spurs performance.

Barney Ronay of The Guardian agrees. "Don't blame Wembley. Don't blame the spiffy dressing rooms or the slightly different tone and timbre of the noise around those deeply tiered stands on a close, sweaty night in London," he says. The result was "a fine metaphor for the Premier League's wider engagement with elite level European football. Wonderful staging. Endless hunger for the spectacle... All combined with a sense of something a little unsettled, of trapped energy and talent as-yet unexpressed."

The match, which saw Spurs start brightly before going 2-0 down, offered an "intriguing glimpse into Tottenham's future", says Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail. Spurs will relocate entirely to Wembley next season as work at White Hart Lane begins in earnest.

"There was giddy anticipation, there was creeping anxiety, there was renewed hope and pride but it ended with a cold slap of disappointment. Really, it was a lot like it can be at White Hart Lane. Only with a club record crowd of 85,011 roaring from the stands."

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