Ex-Tottenham star snaps at ‘Wembley jinx’ talk

Date published: Wednesday 1st March 2017 2:30

Wembley: Not been a happy home

Tottenham will lift their Wembley curse by winning the FA Cup, according to the club’s former captain Gary Mabbutt.

Spurs have won just one of their last eight games at the national stadium, with two defeats there in the Champions League contributing to the team crashing out at the group stage this season.

A rare victory against CSKA Moscow in December was enough only to seal qualification for the Europa League, but more Wembley disappointment – in the form of a 2-2 draw against Gent last week – saw Tottenham knocked out in the last 32.

The team’s form at the 90,000 arena is particularly concerning given they are set to play all their home fixtures there next term while their new stadium is completed.

Redemption could come in the FA Cup, however, where Spurs face Millwall in the quarter-finals, with a semi-final and final at Wembley potentially to follow.

Mabbutt, who won the tournament as Tottenham captain in 1991, is backing his former club to banish their Wembley woes by picking up the trophy.

“I’ve been frustrated this season with people talking about a Wembley jinx,” said Mabbutt, speaking ahead of the London Football Awards on Thursday.

“There were two poor performances at the start of the Champions League and that was it – it was nothing to do with a Wembley jinx.

“People building up the hoodoo of playing at Wembley, it’s absolute nonsense, and I think that will be proven this season because I’m quietly confident Tottenham will go on to win the FA Cup this year.”

The FA Cup appears to be Tottenham’s only hope of securing silverware this term, given Chelsea sit 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Spurs have lacked the Blues’ strength in depth, with three of their four signings last summer failing to make an impact under Mauricio Pochettino.

Victor Wanyama has proven a success but Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and, in particular, Vincent Janssen, have all struggled.

“If we’re looking at strengthening in certain positions, I think we’d be looking at buying another striker,” Mabbutt said.

“If Harry (Kane) gets injured, we need a bit more in that department. We’ve had injuries this year to key players – Jan Vertonghen, Kane, Toby Alderweireld – but when they’ve been injured, other players have stepped up.

“It’s just concerning that our main striker is Harry Kane and if he’s not fit you’re looking at Son (Heung-min) and Janssen. Can they produce the goals Harry has been scoring?

“If money was no object, I’d bring in another top-quality player in that department.”

Part of Janssen’s problem has been Kane’s form, the striker scoring his 100th club goal in a first-half hat-trick against Stoke on Sunday.

Mabbutt believes the 23-year-old is already one of the north London club’s greatest ever goalscorers.

“He’s right up there with Tottenham’s greatest strikers,” Mabbutt said.

“In my time at Tottenham I was lucky to see some wonderful strikers – Steve Archibald, Clive Allen, Gary Lineker, Jurgen Klinsmann – but watching Harry, he’s one of the best finishers I’ve ever seen.

“He’s up there will all of them in terms of his goal-scoring and, after what he’s achieved over the last couple of seasons and knowing how hard he works, he can get even better.”

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