Ange Postecoglou hopes Timo Werner gains confidence after he scored to help Tottenham earn a much-needed 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace.

Spurs were set for a second consecutive defeat when Eberechi Eze curled home a sumptuous free-kick for the visitors just before the hour mark.

Werner had also been guilty of missing a glorious first-half chance but made amends when he tapped in with 77 minutes played after excellent work by Brennan Johnson to spark a late turnaround by the hosts, with Cristian Romero and captain Son Heung-min also scoring.

It was Werner’s first goal for Spurs since his January loan from RB Leipzig and also just his 11th Premier League goal in 62 appearances after a mixed spell at Chelsea but Postecoglou praised the contribution of the Germany forward.

He said: “I thought Timo, he missed the chance in the first half but he was a constant threat to them and was in the right area for the goal.

“I understand that with attacking players, goals make them feel better and make them more confident.

“I guess it relieves the pressure on them a little bit but just in general I thought he was really aggressive with his running.

“He kept taking on the full-back and I thought apart from the missed chance his general play was really good.

“A goal always helps, it was pleasing for us and it was an important time in the game. It was great for him to score.”

Tottenham struggled to break down Palace in the first half, although Werner should have scored after 19 minutes when Son sent him through but he tried to round Sam Johnstone and was thwarted.

It was the finish of a forward out of confidence and while Spurs started strongly after the break, Oliver Glasner watched his team take the lead when Eze produced a superb free-kick for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Postecoglou introduced Johnson and his tenacity created the equaliser after he robbed Joachim Andersen of possession, got the better of Jefferson Lerma and teed up Werner for a simple finish.

Three minutes later and the hosts were ahead when Romero flicked on James Maddison’s inventive cross with 80 on the clock before Son wrapped up the scoring in the 88th minute after Johnson put him clear.

“I was pleased with the whole game,” Postecoglou insisted.

“You need that goal to break open a team that is going to sit so deep. I still felt like we were putting enough work into them that at some point we would be able to break them.

“Obviously we conceded which was disappointing. You’re looking for a reaction and I thought the reaction was outstanding.

“They just had a real belief today in our processes and our football and I’m really pleased with the outcome.”

Postecoglou also attempted to clarify reports in Brazil that Richarlison may be fit enough for his country’s international fixtures with England and Spain later this month after the Spurs boss had ruled the forward out for “three-to-four” weeks with a knee injury on Friday.

He added: “We’ve still got, what, two weeks to go before then?

“I’m not a doctor, I don’t write prescriptions, I get sort of a guide and go from there.

“If he’s ready to go, he goes. If not, he’ll be with us.”

New Palace boss Glasner was disappointed his team could not hold on at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but credited the effort of his players.

“Yes, I think the players did a great job over 60 to 70 minutes,” Glasner said.

“They stick to the plan and we defended really well for most of the time. Then we scored a very nice goal but to win here at Tottenham you have to be perfect over almost the whole distance of the game.

“We are disappointed because I had the feeling before the 1-1 we can win the game but then it turned and in football one situation can change the game.”

Tottenham returned to winning ways with a 3-1 home victory over Crystal Palace after a dazzling spell of three goals in 11 second-half minutes.

Ange Postecoglou’s team were heading for a second straight defeat when fit-again Eberechi Eze curled home for Oliver Glasner’s side with 59 minutes on the clock.

Substitute Brennan Johnson helped turn the match back in Spurs’ favour, though, with a brilliant assist for Timo Werner’s 77th-minute equaliser before Cristian Romero headed in a second soon after.

Captain Son Heung-min wrapped up the scoring two minutes from time after Johnson had sent him away to earn the hosts’ a much-needed win in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Spurs had two weeks to prepare for this fixture but were up against a Palace side buoyed by the arrival of new boss Glasner, who won his first game in charge at home to Burnley last weekend.

It was the visitors who made the brighter start with Jordan Ayew blazing over before Jean-Philippe Mateta had a shot blocked by Emerson Royal.

Slowly Postecoglou’s side started to click with Son almost put through before he turned creator for what should have produced the opener.

Rodrigo Bentancur won back possession and Son sent Werner clear but he tried to round Sam Johnstone, who stood up well and thwarted the attacker in the 19th minute.

Play was back down the other end soon after when Jefferson Lerma’s shot deflected into the path of Daniel Munoz but Guglielmo Vicario bravely dived in to deny the Palace wing-back.

Vicario made a superb save from Ayew with half an hour played only for the offside flag to be raised as the first rumblings of discontent occurred from the home crowd.

Spurs ended the first half with 82 per cent possession but had produced one shot on target against an organised Palace side in a 3-4-3 under their new boss.

Tottenham’s tempo after the break was much-improved with Werner firing an effort across goal before he wanted a penalty with 53 minutes played.

Werner raced into the area and was caught by Daniel Munoz but referee John Brooks awarded a corner and VAR decided not to intervene.

The attacks kept coming with Son firing a first-time effort against the post from Dejan Kulusevski’s pass before Eze was afforded a rare moment of space and won Palace a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Bentancur was booked for the cynical foul but worse was to follow for Spurs as Eze whipped the free-kick around the wall and beyond Vicario for a superb seventh goal of the campaign.

Postecoglou instantly turned to his bench with Johnson brought on and he side-footed a good chance over straight after his introduction.

Son was next to go close with a scuffed effort wide before Tottenham did find the breakthrough thanks to Johnson’s tenacity.

Johnson first won back possession from Joachim Andersen and then got the better of Lerma before he teed up Werner at the back post to level in the 77th minute.

It was Werner’s first goal in English football since April 2022 but Spurs very quickly made it 2-1.

James Maddison sent a floated cross into the area, which was headed home by Romero, before Son wrapped up the scoring with a fine finish into the bottom corner for his 13th goal of the season.

A sin bin trial featuring blue cards was conspicuous by its absence as football’s lawmakers set out plans to improve player behaviour on Saturday.

The PA news agency understands blue cards were set to be part of a trial of sin bins at higher levels of the sport, with details of the trial having been close to publication by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

Media reports about blue cards published on February 8 drew a negative response on social media and from the likes of Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, and plans to publish the trial details were delayed pending further talks at Saturday’s annual general meeting.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Friday night he “wasn’t aware” blue cards were intended to be used in the trial and said his organisation was “completely opposed” to the idea, and an IFAB press release issued on Saturday mentioned two other protocols designed to help referees regulate player behaviour had been approved – giving referees the option to create captain-only zones and cooling-off areas in the event of mass confrontations.

But there was no mention of the sin bin trial or blue cards, only that “current guidelines to temporary dismissals in youth and grassroots football” had been “improved”.

“Any potential wider application will only be considered once the impact of these changes have been reviewed,” the release said.

Ange Postecoglou has advised his Tottenham players to take social media with a pinch of salt after a difficult week for Ryan Sessegnon.

Full-back Sessegnon had surgery on his right hamstring on Monday, after an operation on his left hamstring last summer, and called for people to “be careful what you say online” in a post on his social media channels.

Sessegnon, 23, has endured a torrid time with injuries and faced plenty of abuse on Twitter and Instagram over his fitness woes, but boss Postecoglou likened those platforms to a prison yard.

“I guess the easy thing to say is, ‘look just stay off social media,’ and that’s easy for me to say,” Postecoglou said.

“I can do that but I guess for younger people it’s a vehicle for them or a platform for them to have a voice, which I kind of understand.

“They’ve also got to be mature enough to also know that sometimes the audience, I think for want of a better term, social media is like walking into the prison yard and saying you’re innocent.

“You’re not going to get a hell of a lot of sympathy. Most of it is going to be coming back at you.

“If you’re kind of prepared for that then (fine), but if you’re jumping into there to try and feel good, my sense of it is, I’m not all over it but you’ll rarely come away from it feeling really good about yourself.

“Even with the most genuine of reasons for saying what you want to say or putting out what you want to put out. It’s just that kind of platform you’re invariably going to come away from thinking I probably shouldn’t have said anything.”

 

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Sessegnon is set to spend the rest of the season on the treatment table and is currently joined by Richarlison, who suffered a knee injury during the 2-1 home defeat to Wolves on February 17.

Richarlison is not expected to return until after the international break and Postecoglou will also be without Pedro Porro (muscle) for Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace.

Fifth-placed Tottenham will aim to get their Champions League qualification hopes back on track against Palace and their manager expressed his frustration at the stop-start nature of their campaign.

Early cup exits mean Spurs will only play 41 matches this season and asked if they can make the most of Aston Villa and Manchester United juggling cup commitments, Postecoglou admitted: “I don’t know.

“It depends how you use that time. If you ask me would I rather be in Europe? Absolutely, 1000 per cent I’d rather be in Europe at this time playing games.

“A club like us, who want to compete at the highest level against the best, you need a strong squad and to have a strong squad you need consistent games, consistent game time and opportunities.

“At the moment, if we get an injury then we’re liable to throw in somebody who hasn’t played for four or five weeks. It’s not easy on that player.

“Whereas if you’ve got games, there’s a natural rotation that you need to make all the time and also gives you a little bit of rhythm.

“I had the other extreme last year of 60-plus games at Celtic, but I found that a lot easier to manage than having a disrupted season like we’ve had this year.”

Ange Postecoglou warned no magic wand will get Tottenham’s top-four tilt back on track after they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Wolves.

Spurs had returned to fourth position with a last-gasp victory over Brighton last weekend but were leapfrogged on Saturday by Aston Villa, who won at Fulham.

Joao Gomes headed Wolves into a deserved lead after 42 minutes and, while Dejan Kulusevski levelled 34 seconds after the restart for Tottenham, Gomes grabbed his second after an excellent solo run by Pedro Neto with 63 minutes on the clock.

It consigned the hosts to a frustrating defeat and they have now failed to score in the first half of their last five home matches.

“We will work hard, we’ve got two weeks to prepare for our next game (against Crystal Palace) and there’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Postecoglou insisted.

“You take the blows and you’ve got to move on irrespective of what’s happened in the past. You’ve got to make sure you’re ready for the next game.

“There’s no tricks, it’s hard work. I’m not a magician, I’m a football manager. It’s hard work which these guys have done all year.

“Like I said, we’ve got to this point which is pretty decent on the back of some hard work and that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

Spurs were without first-choice full-backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie and struggled to break Wolves down in the opening 45 minutes with home goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario making fine saves to deny Nelson Semedo and Pablo Sarabia either side of Gomes heading in a corner by Sarabia.

Tottenham came out firing after the break, like they had done in recent wins over Brentford and Brighton, with Kulusevski equalising after he dribbled past Craig Dawson and poked under Jose Sa.

Postecoglou’s team were beginning to build a head of steam but Wolves remained a threat on the break and, after Vicario denied Sarabia in the 56th minute, the visitors’ second arrived six minutes later.

Yves Bissouma lost possession after a Spurs corner and Neto carried the ball half the length of the pitch before he cut back and teed up Gomes, who slammed home for his second of the afternoon.

A raft of attacking players were thrown on by Postecoglou, but Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Toti and Neto all squandered promising positions for Wolves before Ben Davies headed wide deep into stoppage-time for Tottenham to ensure Gary O’Neil’s side completed the double over the north London outfit.

Neto’s moment of individual brilliance was his ninth assist of the campaign but his manager issued a hands off to potential suitors after they moved on to 35 points for the season.

O’Neil said: “I still want to push him and get him as close to perfect as a wide player as we can.

“Yeah, I’ve been asked a few times this week about the summer already and I’m not interested in discussing Pedro Neto leaving the football club.

“He is a fantastic player that we spent a lot of money on, that we work very hard on and as far as I’m concerned, we don’t want to lose our best players.

“We have a long way to go yet this season and then hopefully he stays with us and we can keep pushing towards the top half of the table.”

What the papers say

Tottenham are confident they will keep manager Ange Postecoglou amid interest from Liverpool, the Telegraph reports. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp announced he will step down from the club at the end of the season, with ex-midfielder and current Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso favourite for the position.

The Daily Mail says West Ham have delayed contract negotiations with manager David Moyes as he deals with a seven-game winless streak.

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt, the Sun reports, with the 24-year-old said to be unhappy at the German club.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Bernardo Silva: Manchester City’s 29-year-old midfielder is a target for Paris St Germain with the French club reportedly ready to pay his £51million release clause, Spanish outlet Fijaches says.

Kylian Mbappe: The Athletic reports the French striker, who is available on a free transfer this summer, is not happy with Real Madrid’s latest offer.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou heaped praise on “world-class” Son Heung-min after he helped inspire a dramatic 2-1 victory over Brighton.

Spurs looked set to drop more points after they had been held to a 2-2 draw at Everton last weekend but Brennan Johnson struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to fire them back into the Premier League top four.

Son created the winner with a wonderful delivery across the face of goal on his first appearance since he returned from the Asian Cup, where his nation South Korea suffered semi-final disappointment.

Postecoglou introduced Son and Johnson with 28 minutes left and the duo eventually helped the hosts earn all three points after Pape Sarr’s 61st-minute goal cancelled out Pascal Gross’ opener for the Seagulls from the penalty spot after 17 minutes.

“Obviously Brighton were doing really well but they were working really hard to stay in the game and you know they’re going to get tired,” Postecoglou explained.

“The fact we could bring on two attacking players who are going to be a threat, it maybe looks simple but that ball that Sonny plays, that’s a world-class player in a clutch moment.

“Even Brennan getting on the far post, we’ve helped him to do that.

“It’s not about confidence, I feel like with the squad we have for today and hopefully moving towards, we do have that ability irrespective of where the game’s at, to finish games strong.”

On Son, Postecoglou continued: “Maybe the nation he plays for works against him but I think he’s a world-class player.

“You look at his record in the Premier League, the toughest league in the world, his goal contributions irrespective of how the team’s gone through the time he’s been here have always been right up there.

“Even this year, before he left, I think he was probably the best attacking player in the competition, just my opinion obviously. Certainly he’d be up there.

“He’s a world-class player. I thought we did well to cover his absence.

“Richy (Richarlison) obviously stepped up in terms of goal threat, and a few other players, but to have a world-class player for the run-in is brilliant for us.”

Brighton were crestfallen at full-time and deserved more in the absence of Roberto De Zerbi, who was back in Italy recovering after he had invasive dental surgery this week.

Andrea Maldera patrolled the touchline in his absence and watched Brighton go ahead via a Gross penalty after Danny Welbeck had been fouled in the area by Micky van de Ven.

It could have been 2-0 before half-time but Guglielmo Vicario saved Kaoru Mitoma’s poked effort and Spurs finished strongly before Sarr equalised when he curled home after Lewis Dunk deflected his cross onto the post.

The points looked set to be shared after Welbeck fired wide with 14 minutes left but Richarlison sent Son away and he squared for Johnson to slam home with seconds of the six minutes of stoppage time remaining.

“Yes, to concede a goal in the 96th minute in transition away, it is very tough, but this is our mentality,” Maldera said.

“We want to score always the second goal. We don’t think to stay in our half.

“Yes, we can do better but the last pass, Son is a big player, but until that moment we played a big match, with big courage.”

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has warned any proposal to introduce blue cards and sin bins will destroy football.

It was revealed on Thursday that a trial could commence soon where a blue card would be shown for dissent and professional fouls where the offenders would be sin binned for 10 minutes.

FIFA has since clarified the trial will not occur in elite football, while football’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, will not publish plans for the sin bin trial until next month.

However, Postecoglou was unequivocal in his belief it would be a wrong move.

“One team being down to 10 men for 10 minutes, you know what it’s going to do to our game? It’s going to destroy it, mate,” Postecoglou insisted.

“You’re going to have one team just sitting there trying to waste time for 10 minutes waiting for a guy to come on.

“Every other sport is trying to declutter. All we’re trying to do is go the other way for some bizarre reason.”

Postecoglou talked at length about the laws of the game ahead of Saturday’s visit of Brighton.

The Spurs boss defended goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, who conceded from another corner during last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Everton.

Vicario failed to deal with Dwight McNeil’s delivery into his six-yard area while under pressure from Jack Harrison, which was also the case in the 1-0 loss to Manchester City last month.

Ruben Dias crowded round Vicario on that occasion from a Kevin De Bruyne corner and the Tottenham goalkeeper’s flap resulted in Nathan Ake scoring.

Spurs have written to Professional Game Match Officials Limited this week to get clarification over why both goals have not fallen under the bracket of encroachment.

“We have sent some stuff to get some clarification,” Postecoglou revealed.

“I’m going to get called out for this, but there was a thing that was quite evident in the game that the goalkeeper was a protected species. I don’t think that’s just me making that up.

“The reason people used to say that was that if you really impeded a goalkeeper in any way in the six-yard box, you are going to get a foul. I knew that as a player, I knew that as a manager.

“I think there’s been a shift there where now to me, it’s obstruction.

“If you’re standing in front of a goalkeeper stopping him before a ball has even arrived, in layman’s terms that’s obstruction.

“With the goalkeepers, what’s that going to do now? Well, it’s pretty much opened it up that you can surround the goalkeeper and crowd him and put balls on top of him and just wait for the scramble to finish and see what happens.

“I was really proud of Vic the other day. I think they had nine corners after we conceded and I think he dealt with just about every other one by coming out and actually having a crack at it

“I can’t praise him highly enough over the way he handled it.

“And the whole thing where people say, ‘you’ve got to be stronger’, well, what does that mean?

“If he pushes or does anything to a player, with VAR, you’ve got no chance. You’re going to get a penalty against you.”

Tottenham have captain Son Heung-min back for the visit of Brighton and Postecoglou will hope his presence can boost their unlikely title bid.

Opta Analyst this week claimed Spurs have a 0.1 per cent chance of winning the Premier League this season.

“What did it say, 0.1 per cent? So we (have) got a chance then. Let’s go for it. No problems, no issues with that. We’ve got a chance,” Postecoglou smiled.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes a proposal to introduce blue cards and sin-bins to football does not “sound like a fantastic idea” initially.

The PA news agency understands that blue cards will be shown to players sin-binned in new trials to try and improve participant behaviour.

It is understood that the initial trial phase will not feature top-level competitions to avoid players being in events with different rules concurrently.

PA understands that plans to publish details of these trials have been delayed until next month, but Klopp believes a blue card could present “more opportunities to fail”.

He told a press conference: “I think everything what the actual situation shows is we should keep it as simple as somehow possible, for the referees as well.

“It’s a difficult job, often quite emotional when we speak about it more so because it’s after the game, and I think the introduction of a blue card would just give more opportunities to fail as well because the discussion will be: ‘It was a blue card, should it have been a yellow card, now it’s 10 minutes off, in the good old times it would have been a red card or only a yellow’.

“These kind of things just make it more complicated. If they want to test it I have no problem with testing if that’s the first step to agreeing or it already being sure it will happen – I don’t know that.

“It doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea in the first moment but actually I can’t remember the last fantastic idea (which) came from these guys, if they ever had one. I am 56 and, pah, never.”

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou also remained unconvinced by the proposals, adding his “biggest issue” in football is VAR.

“I don’t think people will be surprised by my thoughts on it. I struggle to understand this urgency all of a sudden to bring in new things,” he said.

“I don’t know if there’s that much wrong with the game as I see it. My biggest issue with the game right now is that VAR has changed the experience, whether you’re a player, a manager or a supporter or whatever you are I think it’s changed the experience of football.

“I assume that’s a means to an end, that the introduction of technology is going to get us to a better place. I remain to be convinced about that.

“Beyond that, I don’t know why a different colour card is going to make any difference. I struggle with this whole taking from other sports.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes that the proposals would be “tested very well” if introduced.

“I don’t know when we’re going to get there,” he said.

“I think we’ve got a lot going on with decisions, with technology, with what is coming. I don’t know if we are ready for that yet.

“Who knows (if it is a good idea). Hopefully it’s going to be tested very well before they introduce it at this level.”

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted he was “not a big fan” of the new proposals.

He said: “I’m not a big fan, to be honest. I think that’s what yellow cards are for. I think the current system works well, it’s just got to be applied right.

“I think adding a blue card would just add more confusion, in my opinion, so I’m against it.

“I think (sin-bins) would change it a lot, but again not, for me, in a good way because I think it will make it very bitty, more stop-start.

“I fear for the players who would have to go off for 10 minutes and then re-find the rhythm of a Premier League game after 10 minutes out, I’m just not sure it works, personally.”

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil believes blue cards could “damage” the stadium experience.

“I haven’t looked into it too much, it would damage the in-stadium experience, it would change the game drastically, to have to spend 10 minutes down to 10 men,” he said.

Son Heung-min will return to Tottenham’s training ground on Thursday after South Korea’s Asian Cup exit.

Son suffered disappointment with his nation on Tuesday after they lost 2-0 to Jordan in the semi-finals.

While the majority of the South Korea squad have returned to their home country along with manager Jurgen Klinsmann, Son headed straight to the UK and will link up with his Spurs team-mates again on Thursday.

It raises the prospect of Tottenham captain Son being available for Saturday’s visit of Brighton.

Spurs have been without Son for four matches over the past month, claiming only one victory during that period without their 12-goal attacker.

Ange Postecoglou could have Yves Bissouma in contention for the clash with Brighton after Mali were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, but the midfielder will be assessed after struggling with illness during the tournament.

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou felt goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario deserved more protection from referee Michael Oliver after Everton earned a last-gasp 2-2 draw.

The Italian, having endured a similar problem in their FA Cup exit to Manchester City last week, failed to deal with Dwight McNeil’s inswinging corner under his own crossbar which allowed Jack Harrison to equalise to initially make it 1-1.

And while the Spurs boss was reluctant to criticise the officials, he felt there could have been more intervention as Spurs missed the chance to move level on points with second-placed City.

“It just seems to be in general referees are reluctant to call these now and leave to VAR,” said Postecoglou on the first goal.

“At the moment any contact in the box referees seem reluctant to call.

“It is disappointing to concede any goal. There were about 30 set-pieces. It is stuff you have to deal with.

“It is obviously a difficult place to come and play and dominate and for the most part I thought we handled it OK.

“We started the game really well, lost a bit of our composure, the second half was OK and we created some good chances and probably needed a third to kill the game off.

“In the last 10 minutes it is almost inevitable you will be put under pressure here. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche denied they had deliberately targeted Vicario.

“No, not necessarily. We want to be competitive on set-pieces all over the pitch. Delivery is massively important as is the intent and desire to score a goal,” he said.

“That is a large part of what we drill into the players. We do look a threat. There is no story there, it is just what we work on.

“Some weeks you give more time on (working on) the opposition but it is mostly what we work on.”

Jarrad Branthwaite’s first goal of the season deep into added time snatched a morale-boosting draw, with ex-Toffee Richarlison having scored twice for Spurs.

“Very pleased from top to bottom,” was Dyche’s assessment of the performance.

“The commitment is evident and some of the quality. They (Tottenham) started well and scored a very good goal from their point of view and then we went on the front foot and took the game on and played very well.

“At half-time I just said to the players ‘that is a very good half so we have to keep that going’. We kept our levels extremely high and deserved at least an equaliser, if not to take all three points.”

Ange Postecoglou feels there is even more to come from in-form Tottenham forward Richarlison.

Richarlison made it seven goals in as many Premier League matches with the crucial third goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford.

Spurs have been without captain Son Heung-min for the last month due to his Asian Cup commitments, but the Brazil international has filled the void and started to repay his £60million price tag following a difficult debut campaign.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton, Postecoglou said: “For me, it’s about trying to get players to fulfil their potential and with Richy, I still think there is growth there.

“If he keeps growing, well we the football club will be the beneficiaries of it.

“The goals are obviously important because that’s everyone’s measure, but I think his general game is improving and that’s the main thing for me. That’s what I’ve seen.

“The way we play and the kind of player Richy is, I was always confident he would score goals but we need more than that. I think his work rate now defensively, which was really important when we had Sonny up there hasn’t dropped off with Richy there.

“He’s working really hard for the team and the Ks (kilometres) he did the other night was right up there. Then his link up and hold up play is improving all the time. See I love that.

“I love when players still want to improve and do improve rather than say he’s played for his national team and been here quite a while. I can see him developing further and that’s what you want as a manager and coach. For us, he’s becoming a really important player.”

Minor groin surgery in November has been cited as a key reason behind Richarlison’s improvement, but Postecoglou has also fostered an environment at Tottenham that has allowed several players to flourish after previously mixed spells at the club or elsewhere.

He placed the credit firmly with the squad, adding: “I think the team has helped, but not just Richy, it’s a really strong dressing room in terms of the guys being really supportive of each other.

“We’ve had a number of guys coming back from long-term injuries or missed football and I think the reason they’ve come back and never felt disconnected is because of the dressing room we’ve created.

“For that, you need good leaders. Sonny is definitely that and (Cristian) Romero now, over the last few weeks, has grown even more. He’s a positive influence over everyone in the group and I’m sure Richy.

 

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“I see it on a daily basis, others don’t, but if you watch Emerson Royal train every day, you’d think he plays every game.

“He’s just outstanding with his attitude and demeanour around the place.

“There’s no time for anyone to feel down.

“When you see a guy like Emerson and like Fraser (Forster) or Ben (Davies), they train so hard every day, always have the greatest disposition, it doesn’t give anyone else an excuse to not feel up for it.”

Ange Postecoglou was pleased Tottenham regained their composure to storm back to earn a crucial 3-2 home win over Brentford but told both sets of players to enter the UFC ring if they want to focus on grappling over goals.

Spurs were sluggish in the first half and trailed to Neal Maupay’s 15th-minute opener, which saw him mock James Maddison’s darts celebration and appeared to be the catalyst for a fiery contest between the London rivals.

Whatever Postecoglou said at half-time did the trick though with Tottenham scoring twice in 72 seconds through Destiny Udogie and substitute Brennan Johnson before Richarlison made it three goals in eight second-half minutes when he steered home with 56 minutes on the clock.

Ivan Toney set up a grandstand finish when he pounced on Udogie’s error to score in front of England boss Gareth Southgate, but Spurs held on to leapfrog Aston Villa and reclaim fourth spot following a chaotic encounter.

Asked if Maupay’s darts celebration had fired up his team, Postecoglou replied: “I hope not because that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

“I’m not a fan of it. I don’t like the whole bravado, pushing people around. If you’re that brave about things, my players and their players, get into a UFC cage and I’ll see how brave they are.

“We’re out there to play football and that’s what I want our guys to do, focus on playing football and they shouldn’t get motivated by things that aren’t really that important to us.

“Like I said, we got sucked in first half. Second half was better.

“I think we started the game well, started with good intensity and good tempo, obviously they score and then we lost our way.

“We lost focus. I was a bit frustrated with our inability to stay disciplined, just too many stops and starts, it kind of plays into their hands, lots of set pieces and throw ins.

“We spent more time talking to the referee than playing the game. I was a bit frustrated we lost our real clear focus.

“Second half, I think for 25-30 minutes we were outstanding, scored three great goals and probably should have had a couple more.”

Spurs started on the front foot but were rocked when Udogie gave away possession to Christian Norgaard, who sent Toney away and while Guglielmo Vicario denied him, Maupay was on hand to bundle home and score for a fourth consecutive match.

Tottenham got sucked into Brentford’s game-plan after with the rest of the first 45 stop-start and containing plenty of melees, but a double substitution at the break inspired the hosts’ comeback with Johnson and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg introduced.

Udogie slotted home after a slick one-two with Werner, who then set up Johnson at the back post in the 49th-minute.

When Richarlison fired in for his seventh league goal in as many matches, after Maddison’s shot had been blocked, Spurs were on track for three points but another poor Udogie pass allowed Toney to tee up a dramatic finale in N17.

Maddison was forced off late on with cramp, but Postecoglou’s side survived seven minutes of stoppage-time to return to the top four.

Opposite number Thomas Frank stoked the fire further after full time when he questioned why Tottenham had allowed Maupay’s darts celebration to irritate them.

“If that’s what’s irritating them, then they have a problem,” Frank said.

“Is that fair enough? If they are talking about darts celebrations winding them up, then I think they have an issue, personally.”

On Postecoglou’s UFC suggestion, Frank added: “Yeah, I agree. Just in general concentrate on playing football.”

Tottenham moved back into the Champions League places after three goals in eight second-half minutes fired them to a chaotic 3-2 win at home to Brentford.

Spurs were sluggish in the first half and trailed to Neal Maupay’s 15th-minute opener but Ange Postecoglou’s half-time team talk seemingly did the trick.

Destiny Udogie and substitute Brennan Johnson scored within 72 seconds of each other at the start of the second period before Richarlison grabbed his seventh goal in his last seven Premier League games.

There was still time for Ivan Toney to score again on his second appearance since his return from a betting ban but Tottenham held on to leapfrog Aston Villa and reclaim fourth spot.

Spurs were eager to bounce back after exiting the FA Cup last Friday and James Maddison was handed a start but Brentford also had their returning hero involved with Toney leading the line again.

While all eyes were on Toney, it was the Bees’ other forward who broke the deadlock.

Udogie gave away possession to Christian Norgaard who sent Toney clear and while goalkeeper uglielmo Vicario thwarted the England international, Maupay was on hand to bundle in to score for a fourth consecutive match.

Maupay and Toney celebrated by mimicking Maddison’s dart throw celebration but it was a deserved opener after Mads Roerslev had a goal ruled out for offside minutes earlier.

Postecoglou’s side initially reacted well to going behind with Timo Werner testing Mark Flekken after a fine Rodrigo Bentancur run before Werner headed wide from a Pedro Porro corner.

Richarlison then flashed an effort past the post from range but Spurs started to get sucked into Brentford’s gameplan that has earned them multiple wins at Chelsea and success at Man City during the past two seasons.

Frustration began to boil over at the away side’s pedestrian pace at set-pieces and the Bees nearly doubled their advantage when Ethan Pinnock backheeled wide after another dangerous ball into Tottenham’s penalty area.

Dejan Kulusevski and Maupay were booked by David Coote for a shoving match soon after before Vicario punched away a Toney header to ensure it was 1-0 at the break.

Postecoglou made a double change at half-time with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Johnson introduced.

Werner and Udogie lacked cutting edge in the first half but combined to equalise three minutes into the second half.

Udogie carried the ball forward, played a quick one-two with Werner and, after his first effort had been blocked by Pinnock, he was on hand to slot home to make it 1-1.

The Brentford players had barely got back into position when Tottenham grabbed another.

Kulusevski sent Werner away and the RB Leipzig loanee showed a clinical edge with a fine ball to the back post where substitute Johnson tapped in.

Johnson celebrated by copying Maddison’s darts celebration and Richarlison followed suit in the 56th minute.

Tottenham were at their free-flowing best now with Udogie finding Maddison, who cut back and had a shot blocked by Pinnock but Richarlison was on hand to steer home.

Brentford remained a threat and after Toney had sent two efforts wide, he made it third time lucky in front of England manager Gareth Southgate with 67 minutes played.

It was another gift from Udogie, who failed to look up and sent his pass back straight to Toney and he rifled into the corner to set up a grandstand finish.

Maddison’s night ended early with what appeared to be cramp before the Bees created one final chance but Vicario tipped over Josh Dasilva’s close-range volley to earn Spurs a precious three points.

Chelsea’s potential outgoings could dominate transfer deadline day with speculation over Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja’s futures at the club yet to subside.

West London rivals Fulham have been linked to Broja over the last few days of the January window, while England midfielder Gallagher has been linked with a move to Tottenham throughout the month.

Spurs have been one of the busier clubs in a seemingly quieter January transfer window so far, with Radu Dragusin and Timo Werner arriving in north London, but head coach Ange Postecoglou suggested on Tuesday it would be “unlikely” to see any more signings

Financial services firm Deloitte suggested that clubs’ desire to avoid tough sanctions for financial rule breaches could be a factor in a general drop in Premier League transfer spending this month, but did not rule out a “late flurry” of activity before the 11pm deadline on Thursday.

Aston Villa have been active in the final stages of the window, with winger Morgan Rogers expected to join from Middlesbrough in a deal worth £16million.

Forward Jhon Duran has been linked with Chelsea, while Unai Emery is also keen to keep hold of Jacob Ramsey, who has been linked with Tottenham and Bayern Munich.

Speaking about the midfielder at a press conference on Monday, Emery said: “Jacob Ramsey is a very important player. He grew up in the academy and his progression is getting better.

“His level is increasing a lot and I want to keep him here with us. Of course, there are movements (speculation) around him.

“Maybe there are teams involved in the possibility to sign him because he has a big, big potential at Villa and in England. I want to keep him here, 100 per cent.”

Newcastle were another club linked with Ramsey, but Eddie Howe insisted on Monday that the Magpies had made no approach for the 22-year-old.

Howe added he is determined to keep his squad “intact” amid speculation over the futures of Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron throughout the window.

After securing Kalvin Phillips on loan, Portuguese winger Jota is reportedly a target for West Ham to replace Algeria winger Said Benrahma, who is likely to leave before deadline day.

Pablo Fornals could be another player to leave the Hammers and he is reportedly close to sealing a move to Real Betis.

Brighton have been linked with a move for Leicester midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, but Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi remains tight-lipped about the speculation.

“I don’t know anything about him (personally); I know him as a player,” he said.

“He has great quality but it’s not my business speaking about other players, especially because (Foxes boss) Enzo Maresca is my friend and I want to be correct with him.”

There could be activity towards the bottom end of the Premier League table as Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder admitted the club will be working “frantically” to improve their squad before Thursday, while Nottingham Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo is also hoping to bring in reinforcements.

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