Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino will not let his side playing their Carabao Cup game against Watford in Milton Keynes become a possible excuse for failure.
Spurs will play the third-round clash at the home of League Two side MK Dons on Wednesday night as their new stadium is not finished and Wembley is not ready to host a football match after the Anthony Joshua fight at the weekend.
They opted to play the game 50 miles up the M1 rather than reverse the fixture, which Watford had stated as their preference.
Playing at a stadium which is not theirs is nothing new to Pochettino’s side and he will not let it become a reason to under-perform.
“If there is one thing I didn’t want it is to give reason to the players to say, ‘If we don’t win it’s because of Milton Keynes, it’s because we don’t play at our stadium, it’s because we play at Wembley’,” he said.
“I am not like this. If we lose it’s because we deserve to lose and our performance is no good or because I made a mistake.
“It is our responsibility, but for me if you are a winner you have a different mentality and if you are a loser you always try to find an excuse to avoid responsibility.
“I understand that it is not the same as playing in your home and the help from our fans will be fantastic in our new stadium and the energy is different playing in MK than your own stadium.
“But I don’t want to find an excuse, we need to go there and show personality and character and win the game.
“That is our responsibility, it is not to blame the venue or the fans or the chairman. When we are on the pitch, we are on the pitch, it is 11 v 11 and we need to be clever and better than the opponent.
“I understand football like this, this is my character and personality. I understand everything that happens around, but I try to avoid the players finding excuses.”
Tottenham should have settled into their new 62,000-seater stadium by now, had it not been delayed after failures to the alarm systems.
And Pochettino has urged disgruntled supporters to show a little bit more patience.
“I am the first that would like to finish the new stadium,” the Argentinian said. “If I have to go to work after training and help the builders finish the stadium as soon as possible so the fans will be happy, and all the players will be happy and the chairman will be happy, I promise I (will) go.
“Of course we feel disappointed for our fans but they need to understand that is a venue for the rest of our lives and for the next generations and years and years and it is so important to finish (it) in the right way.
“Maybe one or two months means a lot but in the end it is no time because the most important thing is to finish and in the future have a venue that is going to help us win trophies.
“I think Tottenham’s future with this venue to play, with a stadium that will be the best, the only thing that we will be missing is trophies in the cabinet. But we need to start to put trophies there.”