EPL

Ange Postecoglou knows he can succeed at Tottenham by sticking to plan

By Sports Desk December 01, 2023

Ange Postecoglou has cited the early part of Manchester City’s journey under Pep Guardiola as a reason why he has total conviction in his ideas at Tottenham.

Spurs have hit their first real rough patch under the Australian with three straight defeats coupled with a list of absentees which has reached double figures.

Postecoglou remains determined to stick with his attacking approach and could again line up with no recognised centre-back or defensive midfielder at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

While many would adopt a more pragmatic style against City, the Tottenham boss will double down on his philosophy and believes the best clubs stick to the plan when faced with hurdles.

“I’m sure the players are thinking ‘is this really going to work against Man City?’ And those are justifiable questions that they need to ask,” Postecoglou explained.

“My role is to show them that this is still the way forward for us as a group. If we’re ever going to bridge that gap to being a successful side, we have to believe in the football we want to play.

“Even though the last few results haven’t been great, I don’t think the players have felt like they struggled out there.

“They still felt there were parts of the game when we were dominant, so they can see when we’re on it and we’re doing things right, even with so many absences, we’re still a very good football team. I don’t feel like it’s at a point where I’m losing people.

“There are plenty of coaches that coach very differently to me, but they’re at that club for four or five years and they have that success. That’s what I’m talking about with a plan.

“It’s not about just playing one way or having a clear identity. Having a plan means getting the right people involved in the club who you believe will take you where you want to go.

“Then you invest in them, in the club, in the squad and you stick to that plan. It doesn’t mean that’s just exactly the same as anyone else.

“City are different to Arsenal, Arsenal are different to Liverpool, Liverpool are different to both of them but as far as I can see they have the same managers and they’ve gone through tough times.

“They saw something in them. You have to show something, it’s not just about blindly appointing someone and saying you’ve got five years, but those managers have shown they have a plan and the club have said ‘let’s back these people.’”

Postecoglou is no stranger to difficult periods, especially at the beginning of his tenures after exiting the Champions League at the start of his Celtic reign, while he faced a relegation battle with Yokohama.

He reiterated how much he enjoys these challenges ahead of this weekend’s trip to last season’s treble-winners.

Postecoglou added: “I think I enjoy it after when you come out the other side! Nah, I love it, mate. I love it. I don’t think anyone goes into management, or anything you do in life, thinking it’s going to be smooth.

“There’s going to be some rough moments and you’ve got to be prepared for that, you’ve got to enjoy that. The alternative is I’m not in a job and I’m sitting on my couch with no pressure on me and no one questioning anything.

“I’m at a fantastic football club, I’m in the best league in the world, getting challenged every week. Why wouldn’t I be enjoying it? The reason I think I really relish them is because my belief gets tested on a daily basis, whether internally or externally.

“Even internally people will always ask those questions, ‘can you do this? Are you able to continue playing this way?’ or ‘is it working or is it not working?’ All those kind of things.

“When I lay my head at night, I just believe in it. I get up the next day thinking I feel strongly about it. Maybe I’ll end up in a heap, mate, I don’t know, because there are no guarantees. But my gut tells me that I won’t. I enjoy it.”

Related items

  • Calvin Bassey: Fulham ‘wanted’ victory more than Manchester United Calvin Bassey: Fulham ‘wanted’ victory more than Manchester United

    Goalcorer Calvin Bassey felt Fulham just “wanted it more” than Manchester United after the Londoners claimed a shock win at Old Trafford.

    Alex Iwobi struck in the seventh minute of stoppage time as the Cottagers killed off a late United fightback to snatch a last-gasp 2-1 victory in the Premier League on Saturday.

    Fulham had been course for what seemed a deserved success courtesy of Bassey’s opener but United produced a strong finish and Harry Maguire appeared to have salvaged a point for the hosts in the 89th minute.

    Yet while United pushed for a late clincher themselves, they were caught on the counter-attack and Iwobi capitalised to secure his side’s first win at Old Trafford since 2003.

    “I don’t think you can just come here and overrun them,” said defender Bassey, whose goal was his first for the club. “You can see the quality of the players they have.

    “They have got top players and a top manager and players that can have an effect off the bench, but we were just at it more and I felt we wanted it more. That showed in the way we played.

    “(The equaliser) was a bit annoying, but we had done so well to even get 1-1, so then it was about making sure we didn’t leave with nothing. But then we got a chance and we were able to bury it.”

    Mid-table Fulham’s victory was only their second in their last six games in what has been an inconsistent season but Bassey hopes a corner has been turned.

    “It is always nice to win a game and hopefully we can keep this momentum going,” the Nigeria international said.

    The result put an end to United’s four-game winning run in the league and dented their hopes of reaching the top four.

    Maguire feels the team need to get it out of their system quickly ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup trip to Nottingham Forest and then the derby against Manchester City next weekend.

    The England centre-back told MUTV: “We know it’s going to be a tough game in midweek. Our full focus is on that one. We’ve got to bounce back.

    “A big reaction is needed. It’s going to be a tough game, but one that we got to go there and produce a performance like we did there last year.”

    Maguire admitted United were caught out in the end by Fulham but said pushing for the win seemed the right approach at the time.

    He said: “This season we’ve scored numerous late goals, numerous late winners. So we had great belief that we were going to go on to win the game.

    “Obviously in hindsight now we can all sit here and say that we should have been more cautious, we were far too naive.

    “We can look back and I’m sure we’ll assess it in terms of areas that we can improve on but, ultimately, over the 90 minutes we didn’t do enough to win the game.”

  • Pep Guardiola still expects more from outstanding Phil Foden Pep Guardiola still expects more from outstanding Phil Foden

    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on “top-class” Phil Foden for his outstanding form, but insisted the attacker can still improve.

    Foden struck the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth to move the Premier League champions to within one point of leaders Liverpool after 26 fixtures.

    It was Foden’s 16th effort in all competitions this campaign, which equals his previous best tally from the 2020-21 season and made it six goal involvements during February after he hit a hat-trick at Brentford earlier this month.

    “Forget about the goals. Of course they’re important, but do you know how he played? How he controls and accelerates. He has become already a top-class football player,” Guardiola explained.

    “He was before a little boy, good actions. Now he has become already a world-class top player. So good. He can play everywhere, especially in the central positions, which is really, really good.

    “In the middle, I think in the (Club) World Cup in Saudi Arabia, he play really good, he understand more the game. His work ethic and how he runs, everything. He has become a top, top class player.

    “He’s young and can improve. Always I had the feeling that Phil always had the sense of goal.

    “Always had this sense of he can score. I met him when he is 16-years-old, he train with us and a little bit like Cole Palmer, arrive there and always have the feeling they can score.

    “Phil has this incredible ability, this incredible ability to do it.”

    Foden’s latest decisive effort made it 15 wins from 17 matches for City who remain in the hunt to achieve another treble after last season’s Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League triumphs.

    Next up for Guardiola’s side is a trip to Luton on Tuesday for an FA Cup fifth-round tie, which is the final fixture of a busy February where they have juggled three competitions.

    City’s schedule shows no sign of easing though with league encounters to come against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in March.

    Guardiola added: “We are tired, but we recover. We’ll sleep good, we’ll eat good and we will be ready for Luton. We want to go through. I know it’s very difficult but it is what it is.

    “We played Champions League and all the teams have a long week in the Champions League because the schedule is there. (Then) we played against Brentford and Brentford is dentist. Going to the dentist without anaesthetic.

    “Do you know why we played against Brentford (last week)? We played the World Cup in Saudi Arabia, two games.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Premier League (@premierleague)

    “I see the schedule, (every) three days and after Tuesday to Sunday, then we have Champions League and then we have another one. United, then maybe I don’t know FA Cup or Brighton, then after Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa. So, yeah still we are there.

    “One point behind after being champions for everything. That is good. I don’t know what is going to happen with my players after they win everything, how they would react? Oh my god. Better than is possible. Impossible, impossible.

    “Every year it’s tough, but I love that it is tough. Okay, we accept it. We accept the challenge, that’s for sure.

    “We accept the challenge to be good. I know Arsenal and Liverpool, what a team they (both) are.

    “And step by step, as much as we are there, we can arrive the last games being there and everything can happen.

    “With these players, with this genetic personality and mentality, no matter what competition always they perform and give everything.”

  • Former Aston Villa and Northern Ireland defender Chris Nicholl dies at age of 77 Former Aston Villa and Northern Ireland defender Chris Nicholl dies at age of 77

    Former Southampton and Northern Ireland defender Chris Nicholl, who captained Aston Villa to League Cup glory, has died at the age of 77.

    Nicholl, who also managed Southampton before taking charge of Walsall, had been living with dementia, specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which he attributed to brain damage caused by repeatedly heading balls over his lengthy career.

    The former central defender’s death was confirmed in a family statement on his daughter Cathy’s Facebook account.

    It said: “It is with a heavy heart that we write this. Chris Nicholl (our dad) sadly passed away peacefully on Saturday evening in hospital.

    “He fought a very long battle with CTE, caused by his dedication to football. Words can’t describe how much we’ll miss him.”

    Wilmslow-born Nicholl, who was capped 51 times by Northern Ireland and represented them at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, began his career at Burnley, but made more than 200 appearances for both Villa and the Saints.

    A dependable defender, he famously scored with a 40-yard piledriver as Villa lifted the 1977 League Cup with a 3-2 second replay victory over Everton which went to extra time at Old Trafford.

    In a series of posts on the club’s official X – formerly Twitter – account, Villa said: “Aston Villa is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former player Chris Nicholl, who has died at the age of 77.

    “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Chris’ family and friends at this difficult time.

    “A two-time promotion and League Cup winner, Chris Nicholl’s achievements in claret and blue will never be forgotten.

    “He was a dominant figure at the heart of the Aston Villa defence for over five seasons, making 252 appearances and scoring 20 goals.

    “Rest in peace, Chris.”

    After hanging up his boots, Nicholl moved into management at the Dell when he was appointed as Lawrie McMenemy’s replacement during the summer of 1985, and it was he who promoted the emerging talents of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Rod Wallace to the Southampton first team.

    Shearer said on X: “RIP Chris Nicholl. You believed in me and gave me my chance. Thank you.”

    Le Tissier added: “The thoughts and prayers of my family go out to the family of my first manager Chris Nicholl, who has sadly passed away.

    “I’ll always be eternally grateful to Chris for having the faith in me as a 17 year old boy to give me my opportunity to prove I was good enough to be a professional footballer. Gone, but never forgotten #RIPChris.”

    Nicholl parted company with the Saints in May 1991 and spent three years out of the game before taking the hotseat at Walsall.

    The Saddlers said on X: “We are devastated to learn that former manager Chris Nicholl has passed away.

    “Chris led the Saddlers from 1994 to 1997 and won promotion to Division Two in what was a memorable 1994-95 campaign.

    “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”

    Nicholl was reunited with McMenemy during his spell in charge of Northern Ireland, serving as his assistant manager.

    A statement on the Irish FA’s X account said: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Chris Nicholl. He played 51 times for us, including the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

    “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time”

    In 2017, Nicholl told Shearer as part of a BBC documentary of his fears over the damage he had suffered during his playing career.

    He said: “I am brain-damaged from heading footballs. My memory is in trouble.

    “Everyone forgets regular things, where your keys are. But when you forget where you live, that’s different.

    “I’ve had that for the last four or five years, it is definitely getting worse. It bothers me.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.