REUTERS - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is already looking forward to the start of next season and says that playing Newcastle United in their Premier League opener will give the players a little bit of extra motivation.
After their trip to St James’ Park on Aug. 12, Tottenham will host champions Chelsea for their first home game at Wembley, which is being used while White Hart Lane undergoes redevelopment, a week later.
“We’re starting to prepare the season and we cannot wait to start again,” Pochettino told the club’s website.
“This is a moment for our players to enjoy their holidays and try to recharge the batteries but for us, we’re thinking about starting the season in the best condition.
“I’m always positive about the fixtures ... and we start in Newcastle, that will be exciting because it’s our first game and then our first game at Wembley is against Chelsea, I’m sure the fans will be excited for that as well.”
Tottenham’s game against Newcastle gives them the opportunity to avenge their humiliating 5-1 defeat in the final game of the 2015-16 campaign.
“Newcastle is another motivation for us. The way that we finished the season before (last) is not too much important now but we’ll have that in our mind to motivate us and we’ll try to win.
“Next season will be exciting and to start at St James’ Park will be very motivating for us.”
Forward Son Heung-min, who scored 21 goals for the club last season, could miss the first few games of the season after undergoing surgery for a broken arm on Friday.
The South Korean fractured his arm in his nation’s 3-2 World Cup qualifier defeat by Qatar on Tuesday and his full recovery could take up to 12 weeks, keeping him out until September, according to a report by Yonhap news agency.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford