With just days left until the return of the Premier League season, former Tottenham Hotspur boss, Mauricio Pochettino has given his take on what to expect.
With many countries in Europe still fighting the spread of COVID-19, matches will be played behind closed doors. As seen with the Bundesliga, that could potentially void any home advantage that teams may have previously enjoyed.
The former Spurs boss believes that away teams will be able to perform without pressure at empty grounds but insisted that it was difficult to predict how each league will be impacted.
Speaking to Mailchimp, the former Spurs boss said: “It is unknown how the footballers will respond. It really is an extraordinary situation, nobody can foresee what is going to happen.
“The example of the Bundesliga in Germany tells us that competing without an audience lowers the stress level of the visiting team and this can make them play more freely.
“In any case, it is early to make a complete assessment because each country is different and offers many variables that condition the team’s performance.”
UEFA is currently said to be exploring the idea of playing the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final of the Champions League in one city to reduce the risk that comes with travelling (Marca), while also making knockout ties one-legged affairs.
Pochettino, who guided Spurs to the final of the Champions League last season, believes these changes will make the competition unpredictable but more enjoyable for the neutrals.
He added: “The format can condition but much more is going to make it so extraordinary moment that we live. It will be something new.
“It is clear that after two games, you can have a bad night and have a margin of reaction.
“But now, in a single match, everyone will have the same chances and that makes him very attractive.
“We are all waiting to see how and in what aspects it can affect.”
Spurs Web Opinion
There is a case to be made that perhaps teams might lose their home advantage playing without their fans. However, I also believe some teams who rely on more patient build-up play or employ a pragmatic style to frustrate the opposition, could also thrive without having the added pressure of the home crowd getting restless.
Have something to tell us about this article?