What the papers say

West Ham will join Liverpool, Tottenham and AC Milan in the hunt for 26 -year-old Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, according to the Guardian. The former Manchester City player will be a free agent in summer, but Fulham are hoping to retain his services.

Football Insider says Chelsea are trying to secure the signature of Athletic Bilbao forward Nico Williams for £43million. The 21-year-old Spain international has scored six goals and had 14 assists for Athletic in all competitions this season.

Former Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos is set to leave Real Madrid for rivals Atletico Madrid as he struggles for game time at the LaLiga leaders, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old Spain midfielder has played just 14 games for the Real Madrid in the league this season, mostly as a substitute.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mohamed Salah: The 31-year-old Liverpool striker is set to be targeted once again by Saudi Pro League clubs this summer with Al Ittihad reportedly set to offer £70million for the Egypt star, Talksport says.

Lucas Paqueta: French media outlet L’Equipe says Manchester City have agreed to terms with the 26-year-old West Ham midfielder.

James Maddison wants Tottenham to be in the mix to win the Premier League this time next year after being left frustrated at missing out on this season’s “amazing” title race.

Spurs were top in November but a spate of high-profile injuries and suspensions resulted in Ange Postecoglou’s team lacking consistency during the winter months.

It contributed towards Tottenham being engulfed in a top-four battle with Aston Villa instead of the title race, but they could be kingmakers when it comes to deciding the champions.

Arsenal make the short trip across north London later this month, while Spurs face Liverpool and Manchester City in May.

However, Maddison has echoed the recent sentiments of Postecoglou and stated Tottenham want to be in the race next season.

“I’ve got no interest to be honest. We’ve got our own goals for the season and I’m not bothered,” Maddison said after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

“If we end up winning games against teams that are in that race, it makes no difference. We’ve got a job to do.

“We are where we are and that is something that gives us good motivation to want to be in the title race next year, seeing how good it is this year.

“For sure, that’s definitely the feeling. That’s filtered down from the manager.

“It’s annoying really, listening to three teams go at it for the title and we’re not in it, especially after the start of the season we had.

“How exciting is the title race this season? It’s amazing, it’s brilliant for a neutral. My friends and family, everyone is locked into the Premier League every week at the minute because it’s such a good title race.

“Frustrating not to be a part of that but we are where we are and we have our own job to do.”

Tottenham took control of the battle for fourth spot with a victory over Forest, which saw them leapfrog Aston Villa on goal difference with a game in hand.

Micky van de Ven’s thunderous strike at the start of the second half sent Spurs on their way to a crucial win and continued the Dutch defender’s outstanding record since he arrived from Wolfsburg in August.

Van de Ven has won 13 of his 20 Premier League appearances and only lost one league fixture during that time when he has finished a game.

Maddison added: “Shooting is not his forte if you see him in training every day but we’ll take them ones that go flying into the top corner.

“He is a special player, he is top level and credit to the recruitment team because I had never heard of him before we signed him.

“The joke is on me really because a player of that calibre, I should probably have heard of in Europe.

“A brilliant player, a brilliant trainer, a brilliant lad and a really good guy.”

Maddison played a key role in Spurs’ third goal after being substituted in their previous two games with West Ham and Luton.

“I am very critical of myself,” the England international admitted.

“Maybe (I’m) not at the heights that won me player of the month at the start of the season, but I am so hungry and so critical of myself to work hard to try and get back to that level.

“I am not too far away, I feel good.”

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo bemoaned another poor refereeing decision after he felt James Maddison should have been sent off during their 3-1 loss at Tottenham.

Spurs playmaker Maddison was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Ryan Yates in the 44th minute, which ended with the Forest captain in a heap on the floor.

Yates urged referee Simon Hooper to review the incident and replays showed Maddison did catch the Forest midfielder with a whack to the stomach, but VAR decided not to take action when the score was still 1-1.

Nuno said: “It doesn’t look like he punched him, he punched him. I saw the image and that is why I speak to you.

 

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“I was surprised that VAR didn’t tell Simon to review it better because honestly with all my respects, Maddison loses his composure and it is a punch in the stomach of Yates.

“It should have been reviewed and a different decision. It is not a shirt with players that looks like nothing happens, no. No, it’s without the ball.

“So, there are two moments we mention (Chris Wood’s miss) in the first half that can change the game.

“I didn’t ask (Hooper), but I saw it. There is no problem in telling I didn’t see it the same way. We didn’t agree, me and VAR.”

Forest could have been ahead by this point but Wood, after he scored for a fourth consecutive match, hit the post from a matter of yards after Guglielmo Vicario had denied Yates in the 34th minute.

Spurs went on to score twice in quick succession after half-time through Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro to end Forest’s three-match unbeaten.

It also ensured Nuno endured an unhappy first return to Tottenham since his 2021 dismissal after only 17 matches in charge.

While the Portuguese described it as a “special” occasion, he insisted his full focus was on 17th-placed Forest improving their survival chances at home to Wolves – another of his old clubs – next week.

“It was a pleasure to work here at Spurs. It was an honour. Things didn’t work out and didn’t finish well. I keep going, Spurs keep on going,” Nuno reflected.

“It was special to come here. It is always special to come to a place where you worked, but it doesn’t take away the focus. My focus is on Forest and we have to do much better next week because we are in a tough fight.”

Ange Postecoglou praised an “outstanding” display from Micky van de Ven after the defender’s goal helped Tottenham climb into the Premier League’s top four with a 3-1 win against Nottingham Forest.

Spurs have lost only one league game that the 22-year-old defender has completed since joining from Wolfsburg and his second-half strike to restore their lead helped change the shape of a game in which Forest had arguably been on top until that point.

A hamstring injury suffered during the home defeat to Chelsea in November forced him to miss nine games and coincided with a collapse in form that saw Spurs drop from top of the table to fifth.

“He’s got a real appetite and determination for being the best he can be in every game,” said Postecoglou. “His defensive work was outstanding again today and it’s a great strike for the goal from a well-worked set-piece.

“It’s credit to him. We’re not the ones who are going to put any limits on his growth. We keep providing an environment for these guys to keep pushing themselves. Not just Micky but others will be dragged along as well because they’re all competing.”

The home side took the lead in the first half via an own goal from Forest defender Danilo, sliding in to turn Timo Werner’s low cross from the left past his own goalkeeper.

Chris Wood levelled with a smart first-time finish from Anthony Elanga’s pass but the game turned on a chance that fell to the New Zealand striker moments later, thumping the ball against the post from two yards out with the goal seemingly at his mercy.

The matched then changed in the space of six decisive second-half minutes.

First, Van de Ven smashed in his first goal at home for the club from the edge of the box, beating Matz Sels with a wicked drive after being set up by Son Heung-min.

Then, Pedro Porro matched the feat of his fellow defender with a bullet of his own, crashing the ball home after Rodrigo Bentancur had got a flick on James Maddison’s cross to send Spurs above Aston Villa and into pole position to finish fourth.

“I couldn’t care less about the race for fourth,” said Postecoglou. “What I care about is the way the team is progressing.

“Pleased with today. It had a little bit of everything. We started the game well, not just the goal, I thought we controlled the game well.

“Then we conceded from a counter attack which was obviously disappointing. I thought we lost our way a little bit towards the back end of that first half but a super reaction and the whole second half we were really dominant.”

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo reflected on a game that got away from his side after the interval.

“The first half was very good but disappointed with the way we started the second half,” he said. “We should have been more aggressive.

“We wanted the second half to sustain and go again. Unfortunately we didn’t achieve it.”

Tottenham took control of the top-four race after second-half goals by Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro downed relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest 3-1.

After Aston Villa dropped points at home to Brentford on Saturday, Spurs knew a victory would send them fourth on goal difference and with a game in hand, but Chris Wood’s first-half strike ensured it was level at the break.

Danilo’s own-goal put Tottenham ahead, although they were perhaps fortunate to still have 11 players on the pitch for the second half after James Maddison caught Ryan Yates off-the-ball towards the end of the first 45.

Maddison avoided punishment and helped the hosts claim a crucial win as they struck twice in five second-half minutes via fine finishes by Van de Ven and Porro to fire Ange Postecoglou’s team above their Champions League rivals.

This game was originally scheduled for Monday night but moved forward due to a planned train strike and in the early hours of Sunday morning a man was stabbed to death near the stadium.

Despite roads around the ground being closed due to a police investigation, the fixture went ahead and it represented Nuno Espirito Santo’s first return to Tottenham since he was sacked in 2021.

Nuno’s ill-fated spell only lasted 17 matches but he almost had a wonder goal to celebrate in the 11th minute.

Forest centre-back Murillo produced the most outrageous effort from almost 70 yards with Guglielmo Vicario off his line and the Spurs goalkeeper could only watch on nervously as the ball sailed a few inches wide.

Murillo did find the net four minutes later but it was his own as Tottenham went ahead.

The hosts’ moved the ball out to the left where Timo Werner produced a dangerous cross, which Murillo miscued past Matz Sels.

It was nearly 2-0 when Werner worked a yard of space and his centre found Brennan Johnson, but the former Forest attacker was denied by a brilliant close-range stop from Sels.

That proved crucial when Wood scored for a fourth consecutive match after 27 minutes.

Neco Williams and Anthony Elanga combined down the right before the latter crossed in for Wood, who drilled through the legs of Porro to make it 1-1.

Wood should have doubled his tally seven minutes later when Vicario denied Yates and he was first to the loose ball, but Forest’s top goalscorer smashed his close-range effort against the post.

An action-packed opening 45 ended with Maddison lucky to escape punishment after he delivered an off-the-ball whack into the stomach of Yates, who went down and called for VAR to intervene.

Referee Simon Hooper decided to just speak with the pair as it stayed level at the break.

Postecoglou had seen enough and made a double substitution at half-time, which almost immediately worked but a 25-yard curler from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was tipped over by Sels.

Wood had his blushes sparred by the offside flag moments later when he inexplicably headed wide from a Williams cross.

The match had taken on an end-to-end feel now but it was Tottenham who seized the momentum with two goals in the space of five minutes.

Both were from unlikely sources with Van de Ven blasting home from the edge of the penalty area for his first goal at Spurs’ home ground in the 53rd minute.

Soon after full-back Porro rivalled his fellow defender for finish of the night with a sweet half-volley after excellent work by Maddison, who skipped away down the left and had his cross flicked on by Bentancur for Porro to fire home.

Son Heung-min hit the post late on but it mattered little as Tottenham moved up to fourth, while Forest stay 17th.

Ange Postecoglou feels there is more to come from in-form Tottenham attacker Brennan Johnson.

Wales international Johnson scored in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham to make it five goal involvements in his last five Premier League matches.

After a slow start to life at Spurs following his £47.5million move from Nottingham Forest in September, the 22-year-old is beginning to hit top form now and faces his old club on Sunday.

Postecoglou has been impressed with how Johnson has handled his big-money move, especially in the wake of Harry Kane’s departure weeks before his arrival and amid recent discourse over the part his transfer played in Forest’s points deduction for breaching league profit and sustainability rules.

“We had a minimum of 30 goals walk out the building,” Postecoglou said.

“People are going to be looking at how we’re going to replace that and it can weigh heavily on a young guy’s shoulders.

“Not that we can expect Brennan to replace Harry, but we needed goals and assists and I like the way he’s handled it.

“We’ve tried to tread carefully with him because I can see the potential in him. I can see how much he can improve and the attributes he has, I’ve got no doubt will fit really well with this team, but I’m not going to put a ceiling on it because that would be unfair on him.

“We like the way he’s progressing but we certainly believe there is more to come, for sure.

 

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“I think now he’s found a bit of confidence, consistency and understanding of how we play, he’s getting the rewards, which is great.

“But he’s still a young guy and we bought him with very much an eye that whatever he does this year, there’s definitely a lot more in him.

“And when you see improvement that encourages us even more because it makes you think that if we invest the time in him even more, he’s going to be a super player for us.”

Johnson’s midweek effort was not enough to fire Tottenham to victory at West Ham, with the hosts able to claim a point after Kurt Zouma scored from a corner.

Spurs have conceded 10 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League this season, but Postecoglou rejected suggestions it has become an Achilles’ heel for his team.

He added: “I think we’ve been pretty good at set-pieces.

“Every goal you concede is down to something. It was a decent delivery the other night, they’ve got some big guys and the rest of the set-pieces I thought we handled quite well.

“We gave away too many corners. That was an issue for us. When you do it against a team like West Ham, who are such a big team physically. They’ve got such great deliveries with (Jarrod) Bowen and (James) Ward-Prowse — you’re asking for trouble.

“I thought that was part of the game we could have handled a bit better, not to give away so many, but I think those kind of things people just kind of look at in snapshots.

“Our winning goal against Luton came from a defensive corner. With all these things, I tend to take a longer-term view on them and for the most part I think we’ve been pretty decent.”

Spurs will be without Richarlison (knee) for this weekend’s visit of Forest.

Ange Postecoglou says the chance to end Tottenham’s long trophy drought was the biggest attraction when it came to accepting the job.

This week saw the club announce revenue streams (£549.6million) in the 2022-23 financial year had passed half-a-billion pounds for the first time and also marked five years since Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened.

However, the main draw for Postecoglou to take over at Spurs was not their money-spinning home venue, the state-of-the-art training facility or healthy finances, but the opportunity to bring silverware back to N17.

Any realistic prospect of Tottenham winning a trophy this season ended in January when they exited the FA Cup but their experienced head coach had continued to state they remained in the title race.

Now 13 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with only 24 points still to play for, Postecoglou has accepted it will be a trophyless campaign but is determined to change that next year.

“It’s a fantastic stadium and the facilities at the training ground are fantastic, so you factor that into it, but it wasn’t the reason I came to Tottenham,” Postecoglou said ahead of Sunday’s visit of Nottingham Forest.

“And I get it. It’s the Premier League, I’m earning decent money, it’s high profile, it’s got a great stadium, great facilities.

“(But) it hasn’t won anything for a while. That’s why I came. That’s the biggest attraction.

“If they were playing out of the back of some other stadium, it wouldn’t have made a difference to me.

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“I see a really big club which hasn’t had success for a quite a while and it’s a great challenge for me.

“Progress is not just an endless road, progress has an objective of being successful. When does that happen? I was hoping it would happen this year but it didn’t so the plan is for it to happen next year.

“At the same time you have got to understand that progress is really messy. It’s disheartening and dispiriting and it can really knock your enthusiasm because it’s not linear.

“You are going to cop some blows along the way and I know that is still ahead of us. We have had to manage a few this year so you understand the progress I’m talking about leads to success.

“If it doesn’t, you will be asking questions to a different bloke next time because it won’t be me.

“That’s why I’m here, to bring success to this football club. This year was my objective so next year becomes the objective. And the quicker it happens, the better for me and the football club.”

Postecoglou has repeatedly faced questions about the battle for Champions League qualification in recent weeks, especially since he claimed a top-four finish was not a priority.

It was put to the 58-year-old that playing in Europe’s elite competition could be the difference between signing the best players or not this summer, but the Australian rejected that notion.

He asked: “Why do you want to come to Tottenham? Because if you want Champions League football and that’s all you want, you don’t want to come to Tottenham; you just want to go to a Champions League club.

“I want people to come to Tottenham, who know this club, know the challenge we’ve got and we do have a challenge. We’re different to other clubs in that we haven’t had success for a while — so I’m looking for a certain type of character.”

Ange Postecoglou has acknowledged Tottenham will not be restricted like some clubs when it comes to spending in the summer transfer window.

Spurs announced their 2022-23 financial results on Wednesday, which showed total revenue for the Premier League club had increased to £549.6million, up from £444m for the previous year.

Club chairman Daniel Levy also revealed they were “in discussions with prospective investors” over a minority stake in Tottenham, and while a loss of £86.8m was recorded, this was put down to “significant and continued investment in the playing squad”.

The breaches of Premier League Profit and Sustainability rules by Everton and Nottingham Forest, which resulted in points deductions, contributed towards a quiet January transfer window – with Spurs one of the biggest spenders.

A similarly muted summer transfer window is anticipated, but Tottenham could again buck the trend with a plethora of additions despite overall losses of up to £232m over the past three years, due to an annual depreciation charge of £72m being included owing to the club’s stadium rebuild.

“My discussions around those kinds of issues are not the minutiae of a balance sheet,” Postecoglou explained ahead of Sunday’s visit of Forest.

“It is about us planning to build a side that can potentially be successful. So, that’s what we’re doing and nothing that is going to come out in the balance sheet is going to disrupt those plans because those plans are done in alliance with the people who make the balance sheets.

“It is not like ‘oh, we are going to wait for the financial results before we start thinking about who we’re going to sign’. All this stuff is already in planning.

“We kind of know what position we’re in and what we need to do in the summer. That doesn’t mean it’s all going to come to fruition of course, because there are all sorts of other factors that come into it.

“Our planning is well under way in what we need to do. But there’s no doubt that from our perspective, we are not one of the clubs who are going to be as restricted as others.

“From my perspective, I’ve had a clear line of communication about where we are as a football club and nothing I’ve taken on has surprised me in any way. We’re in a good position and hopefully we can build on that.”

It was put to Postecoglou that Champions League qualification would be beneficial from a financial standpoint, but the Australian doubled down on his assertation that a top-four finish is not his aim for this season – it is instead to see clear signs of progress in terms of their playing style.

He added: “We’re not banks, we’re football clubs. We’re not financial institutions. I don’t get measured by the balance sheet at the end of the year.

“What I’m saying is, Champions League, great. Money, great. Does that mean we’re going to finish third next year? No, in fact it is probably going to be more challenging.

“So my role in that is not to worry about the financial pressure of making Champions League.

“It is to create a squad that hopefully can compete in the Champions League and keep improving in the Premier League and have success in the cup competitions. That’s where I differentiate.”

Tottenham are “in discussions with prospective investors” in a bid to “capitalise on our long-term potential”, chairman Daniel Levy has revealed.

The Premier League club’s total revenue for the financial year to June 30, 2023 exceeded half a billion pounds for the first time, with the figure of £549.6million a significant increase on £444m for the previous year.

However, operating expenses including first-team costs have risen by 21 per cent to £487.9m, with a loss of £86.8m put down to “significant and continued investment in the playing squad” in the financial results published by the club on Wednesday morning.

Levy announced in his statement accompanying the results that Spurs were looking for an injection of equity.

He wrote: “To capitalise on our long-term potential, to continue to invest in the teams and undertake future capital projects, the club requires a significant increase in its equity base.

“The board and its advisors, Rothschild & Co, are in discussions with prospective investors. Any recommended investment proposal would require the support of the club’s shareholders.”

Ange Postecoglou felt Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at West Ham was a step in the right direction despite dropping more points in the top-four race.

Brennan Johnson’s early strike was cancelled out by a goal from Kurt Zouma as a frantic London derby ended all square.

“I thought for the most part we controlled the game pretty well,” said the Spurs boss.

“They are a big strong team. They sit deep and make it difficult for you. You have to be fairly calm in your approach but also really disciplined because they are a threat from the counter-attack.

“We conceded from a set-piece but the rest of the set-pieces we coped with really well. In the front third we lacked a bit of clarity of thought.

“But they are human beings, it is just football. I would love to have a joystick and put them where I want them, but it doesn’t work like that.

“Sometimes we have more time than we think. There were times when the ball was flashed across the box when we should have been in those areas.

“It is all part of the development. That is why we have coaches, why we develop a system. We are not the finished article and we know that.

“There was enough there tonight for me to say that it is a team still heading in the right direction.”

West Ham should have gone ahead inside four minutes when Mohammed Kudus rolled the ball across goal, but Jarrod Bowen put a simple chance wide.

Just over a minute later they were behind when Tottenham put a carbon copy chance away, Timo Werner crossing for Johnson to sweep home.

The Hammers equalised in bizarre fashion in the 19th minute when Bowen swung in a corner.

With Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario rooted to his line, the unmarked Zouma went up for a header and glanced the ball into the net off his back.

Michail Antonio spurned a glorious chance to put West Ham ahead after half-time when he held off Micky van de Ven to go one on one with Vicario, only to fluff his finish.

Destiny Udogie could have won it for Spurs in stoppage time but drilled his shot straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

“It was probably fair in the end, we did a lot of good things and showed much more resilience in defence tonight,” said Hammers boss David Moyes.

“We looked a threat and had to do a good job to stop a very good Tottenham team.”

Moyes, whose side won 2-1 at Tottenham in December, added: “Overall, if you’re giving me four points off Spurs before the season started, I’d have shaken your hand, walked away and said ‘thanks very much’.”

Tottenham lost more ground in the battle for a top-four finish after they were held to a 1-1 draw at West Ham.

Ange Postecoglou’s side could have leapfrogged fourth-placed Aston Villa with a win and made the perfect start when Brennan Johnson tapped home early on for his fifth goal of the season.

West Ham, who let a 3-1 lead slip to lose 4-3 at Newcastle last weekend, were able to respond in the 19th minute when Kurt Zouma scored from Jarrod Bowen’s corner and they could have claimed all three points.

While Spurs dominated possession throughout in east London, David Moyes watched Michail Antonio race through on the hour mark but fire straight at Guglielmo Vicario as the capital rivals could not be separated.

A light show followed by a firework display greeted the players onto a soaked London Stadium pitch and Moyes should have seen his team start with a bang.

Only four minutes were on the clock when Mohammed Kudus crossed in for Bowen, but the Hammers’ leading marksman fluffed his lines from a matter of yards.

It would prove costly as Spurs went ahead with their first attack of the match. A neat move ended with Timo Werner bursting past Vladimir Coufal before he squared for the recalled Johnson to tap home in the fifth minute.

It continued Johnson’s purple patch, after his brace of assists against Luton, but also ended a run of six first halves without a goal for Tottenham.

The visitors went close again when a Pedro Porro effort whistled past the post before Son Heung-min curled straight at Lukasz Fabianski, in for the injured Alphonse Areola.

West Ham remained a threat at set-pieces though, after Kudus had an early shot deflected over, and levelled after 19 minutes.

Bowen’s inswinging corner was diverted beyond Vicario by the back of home captain Zouma, who was inexplicably unmarked in the six-yard area.

It got the West Ham fans up on their feet and they almost had another goal to celebrate eight minutes before half-time, but James Ward-Prowse’s 25-yard free-kick was parried away by Vicario.

Spurs had responded well to the hosts’ equaliser. However, they had to survive a set-piece barrage to ensure they came in level at the break.

A sloppy pass by Rodrigo Bentancur gifted West Ham a chance at the start of the second half, but Vicario saved Antonio’s shot before the Italian made an even better stop to keep out Konstantinos Mavropanos’ header.

Antonio’s blushes were spared after he air-kicked the loose ball when the offside flag was raised.

Lucas Paqueta was next to go close for the home side when he spun away from Bentancur and curled wide from 20 yards.

Tottenham did regroup but should have gone 2-1 down on the hour mark.

Maddison wanted a free-kick after he tangled with Paqueta. Referee John Brooks waved play on and Ward-Prowse played through to Antonio, who benefited from a slip by Micky van de Ven but fired straight at Vicario.

It was a gilt-edged chance and Postecoglou reacted by bringing on Pape Sarr and Dejan Kulusevski, which gave the visitors a second wind.

Werner had an effort deflected over before both teams threatened to produce stoppage-time breakaway goals, but Destiny Udogie fired straight at Fabianski and Bowen lobbed off target as the points were shared.

Ange Postecoglou expects Tottenham to be in the Premier League title race in 12 months’ time.

Spurs had hit the league summit in November, before a spate of injuries sparked an inconsistent winter period.

The north London club are now 11 points off leaders Liverpool and battling for Champions League qualification with Aston Villa.

Postecoglou has repeatedly insisted a top-four finish is not the priority this season. He is instead more focused on the development and improvement of his young squad.

Asked whether he expects Spurs to be challenging for the title next term, Postecoglou replied: “I hope so. Or why am I doing what I’m doing? That’s why I came to the club.

“As somebody said to me last week, ‘Just do your job Ange’ and my job is to come here and try to bring success.

“And if you don’t think you’re going to be in the title race in 12 months’ time, then I don’t know why I’m here.”

The former Celtic boss also doubled down on his Champions League qualification claims.

He once more pointed to the examples of Manchester United and Newcastle, who were third and fourth respectively last season, as teams that did not kick on after finishing in the top four.

“It’d probably make my life easier if I said, ‘Let’s make Champions League, that’s great’ because everyone thinks I’ve done a great job,” Postecoglou said, speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s game at West Ham.

“But from my perspective, I keep saying it, I look at the teams who made the Champions League this year from last year and that wasn’t the catalyst for them kicking on.

“It’s not their fault – it’s more demanding. But I’m not going to let this club rest on where we finish this year. Where we finish should be a foundation for us being better next year.”

Last weekend marked Spurs’ first home match since the club announced planned ticketing changes which will result in senior concession season tickets no longer being available from the 2025-26 season.

A group called ‘Save Our Seniors’ was formed last month as a result, and staged a protest where fans turned their backs on the action during the 65th minute of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Luton.

“I think my constant position on this is that the fans have a voice,” Postecoglou said.

“And they should be able to use that voice in any manner they find appropriate, as long as it’s not disruptive, as long as it’s not to the detriment of the club in an overall way.

“At the beginning at (my time at) Celtic, there was fan protests there. They have a voice and we’ve seen in the past when fans feel strongly about something.”

Ange Postecoglou has talked up Brennan Johnson’s growing influence and is impressed with how he has handled his debut season at Tottenham.

Johnson joined Spurs on transfer deadline day in September for a £47.5million fee from Nottingham Forest and initially struggled to make his mark, with only one goal during the first half of the campaign.

The Wales attacker has flourished since December though, scoring in comeback wins over Brentford and Brighton and also making key contributions off the bench against Crystal Palace and Luton in recent weeks.

Ahead of Tuesday’s trip to West Ham, Postecoglou said: “Brennan was super on the weekend.

“He’s still young, he’s developing. He’s moved to a big club where there’s big expectations when you have a big transfer fee, but for the most part I think he’s handled it really well.

“He started the two games before he came off the bench, he did really well against Villa. He wasn’t great against Fulham but most of the team wasn’t great against Fulham. (Against Luton) he came again off the bench and made an impact.

“He’s another one understanding more and more how we want to play and he’s adjusting to it. Like I said, for the most part he’s handled himself really well this year.

“It was always going to be a tough introduction for a young player, moving to a big club for a transfer fee, and it’s always harder for attacking players because they are usually measured on goals and assists but I think he’s contributing in more than just that.”

Johnson could start Tuesday’s London derby and may line up alongside Timo Werner, who played a part in both goals during the 2-1 win over Luton.

Spurs have the option to turn the six-month loan of the RB Leipzig attacker into a permanent deal, but Postecoglou was eager to focus on the development of the ex-Chelsea forward.

“In terms of his future, I think like most players all these decisions will be made at the appropriate time,” Postecoglou said.

“He’s been great for us. He was an important signing. I said at the time, people forget that when we signed him Sonny (Son Heung-min) wasn’t here, he was away at the Asian Cup, and then Richy (Richarlison) got injured so we would have had a massive hole in our line-up without Timo there.

“And it’s fair to say he’s made an impact in every game. Yeah, he’d probably like a couple more goals but at the same time he’s an important part of our structure.

“I thought he was really good on the weekend. He has been in the last few games but I do think there’s more improvement in him as he understands our game more.”

Spurs remain without Fraser Forster (foot), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) and Manor Solomon (knee), but Micky van de Ven could start in defence after he was an unused substitute against Luton upon his return from a muscle injury.

Ange Postecoglou has brushed off concerns over Tottenham's lack of first-half goals.

Spurs produced another late show to down Luton on Saturday, with captain Son Heung-min scoring an 86th-minute winner in a crucial 2-1 victory.

It has been a familiar tale for Tottenham, who have now fired a blank in six consecutive first halves but produced another rally after the break to claim a vital win like in recent results against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Brighton.

Postecoglou’s side have not scored in the first half at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2024 – a run of seven matches since Pape Matar Sarr’s ninth-minute goal against Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve – but the 58-year-old is unfazed by the statistic.

“The disappointing thing about the first half is the goal we conceded,” Postecoglou insisted.

“Our football was good. We created good chances, one-vs-ones, we hit the post, they blocked quite a few shots and they defended desperately.

“I think overall there was nothing wrong with our football. The goal we conceded, that was poor and that’s something we need to address.

“With a lot of our football, it becomes a war of attrition. We need to put pressure on the opposition because we know we’re going to run our games really strongly.

“I thought we made Luton work really hard in the first half and I thought you saw in the last 10 to 15 minutes that they paid the price for that.

“Obviously if we got an early goal it would have opened them up and made the game easier for us, but winning the way we did isn’t a bad thing either.”

Luton claimed a shock third-minute lead when Tahith Chong fired home from a Ross Barkley cross after a slick break.

Tottenham should have levelled before half-time but Timo Werner scuffed wide, while Son hit both posts after he rounded Thomas Kaminski.

Postecoglou still introduced Brennan Johnson at the break, which had the desired impact with the Wales international able to create the equaliser with a superb cross that Issa Kabore put through his own net.

Johnson then laid off for Son’s winner to help keep Spurs within touching distance of fourth-placed Aston Villa.

“I thought the lads handled it really well in the second half,” Postecoglou said.

“There was a bit of anxiety around the place. Every game now for every club there will be because there’s extra significance, but I thought the lads stayed really calm during that process, kept playing our football and probing and eventually got their rewards.”

Luton boss Rob Edwards cut a downbeat figure at full-time but tried to draw on the positives for his injury-hit team.

Edwards added: “I have to give all of us some credit because we’ve pushed them all the way. It’s hard because I know we haven’t won much this year but we’re winners and we want to win.

“It hurts. I am normally better once I’ve watched the game back and we have to focus on Arsenal (now). Seven weeks, it’s all done and I’ll try get some sleep then when hopefully we can be in the league still.”

Ange Postecoglou hailed the high standards of “tired” Tottenham captain Son Heung-min after his late goal earned a 2-1 home win over Luton.

Spurs were able to get their Champions League qualification hopes back on track with a comeback victory against Luton after the visitors took a third-minute lead through Tahith Chong.

Tottenham captain Son hit both posts during the first half before Brennan Johnson, a half-time introduction, created the leveller when his dangerous cross was smashed into his own net by Hatters defender Issa Kabore.

Johnson turned provider again in the 86th minute from Timo Werner’s cross when he teed up Son, who slotted home via a deflection off Daiki Hashioka to earn the hosts a vital three points.

It was Son’s 15th goal of the season but more crucially moved him above 1961 double-winner Cliff Jones into outright fifth in Tottenham’s all-time scoring list on 160 goals, a matter of days after he travelled halfway across the world to feature in South Korea’s World Cup qualifiers with Thailand.

Postecoglou said: “I am sure he feels tired. Yeah, absolutely. It’s tough. When I was national team coach of Australia, we had quite a few players playing this side of the world.

“They’re long trips, there is time difference but like I said before he never looks for those clutches, Sonny.

“For him when he is available, he wants to play to the highest possible level and he keeps doing it.

“Playing for his national team is hugely important to him. Playing for this football club is hugely important to him and he wouldn’t compromise either by letting his standards drop.

“Irrespective of opposition or whatever game it is, he has this really high level of expectation on himself to be the best he can be all the time. It’s very hard to be like that.

“But he wants to maintain the highest possible standards whenever he plays and you see that with his football, his efforts, his leadership now so it’s all encompassing.

“Look, he’s been a brilliant footballer for this club for a long time and hopefully for many years to come.”

Spurs had suffered a 3-0 humbling at Fulham ahead of the international break but the prospect of a fast start in north London evaporated when Luton took the lead after three minutes.

Andros Townsend burst down the right and crossed in for Ross Barkley, who teed up Chong for his fifth goal of the season.

Tottenham went close to equalising when Son rounded Thomas Kaminski in the 20th minute, but his low effort hit both posts before Pape Sarr’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Teden Mengi.

Postecoglou sent on Wales international Johnson and he made the difference with 51 minutes played with a superb cross to force Kabore’s own-goal before Spurs hit Luton with a slick counter-attack.

Werner broke from the visitors’ corner and found Johnson, who set up Son to inflict more late woe on Luton.

Rob Edwards’ side dropped back into the bottom three after Nottingham Forest claimed a point at home to Crystal Palace.

“Yeah, I feel sick right now,” Edwards admitted.

“Let’s have it right, Tottenham are a brilliant team, fantastic manager and really good players but to lose so late from our own attacking set-piece is difficult to take.

“For us to be pushing and to concede the way we did is difficult.”

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