Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou said he has never been a fan of VAR after their 2-1 win over Liverpool
There have been some impactful arrivals on the pitch in the Premier League this season but no-one has come remotely close to matching that of Ange Postecoglou. When Daniel Levy turned to a 57-year-old Australian after the miserable high-profile dalliances with Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte it was a move the uninitiated saw as desperation.
But it transpired that Levy – maybe in the same way a clock is correct twice a day – had stumbled across just the right man for Spurs. Manager of the month for the second time running in September, Postecoglou has the side riding high in the table and playing the sort of football Spurs fans want to see. And all without Harry Kane.
Joy, a stranger to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium under his more decorated predecessors, is back as they prepare to welcome Fulham tomorrow night. Postecoglou has turned out to be the Melbourne Midas. In instantly turning Spurs into entertainers and winners, Postecoglou has struck a welcome blow for the unfashionable manager.
He has no glamorous playing career behind him and he has never worked in one of Europe’s top leagues before. He carries himself like a man of his vintage might with a comfortable spread around the midriff. But his straight-talking authenticity and his quiet charisma shines through.
It is what has enabled him to sell his positive vision to a group of players desperate for one and free them up to deliver it. He had a good record in Australia, Japan and Scotland but there were many who questioned whether his template would work in the Premier League. The more relevant question was why wouldn’t it work.
He needed buy-in, of course, and that must have been harder to come by as a low-profile appointment, but by the twin-track approach of giving players more responsibility yet making it clear that whatever happened the buck stopped with him – a rather different stance to Conte – he has won their trust. Spurs are flying.
The comparison with last season is revealing. With their lederhosen-clad record goalscorer gone, they are averaging 2.25 goals per game in the Premier League as opposed to 1.84 across the course of last season. The numbers that really tell the story are the touches in the opposition penalty area – 42.6 versus 23.6, balls won in the final third – 7.3 against 4.4 – and possession percentage – 61.4 against 49.8.
Out has gone caution and counter-attack to be replaced by a ferocious front foot pressing game. Ange-ball in action. Postecoglou admits the approach is a highwire act without a safety net and at times it will backfire on some occasions but there is no sign of that happening at the moment.
Tottenham have made their best start to a league campaign since the 1960/1 season when they lifted the trophy. Can they maintain the momentum? It is probably unrealistic. But they do have one major advantage over their rivals at the top of the Premier League – no European football.
While Manchester City traipse off to Switzerland and Arsenal to Spain in midweek, Spurs will have their feet up. That is handy when a team does as much running as a Postecoglou team does. The international break over, they are back on board the Ange Express tomorrow. Strap yourselves in.
There are no guarantees they will actually win anything this season but at least they are part of the conversation again. There should be a lesson in this for club chairmen everywhere. Don’t automatically buy the shiniest car. Instead of being seduced by the biggest name, do your research, find the right fit. Do not subscribe to the theory of glass ceilings.
Postecoglou has been frustrated by the presence of them in his own coaching career. Before Celtic took a chance on him in 2021 – after first choice Eddie Howe turned them down – he thought he might never get the chance to coach in Europe.
It took an awful lot of knocking for the door finally to open. Even after his treble north of the border, when Spurs came knocking there was audible sniggering from the back of the room. Who’s laughing now, exactly?
- Advert-free experience without interruptions.
- Rocket-fast speedy loading pages.
- Exclusive & Unlimited access to all our content.
Premier League risk fan fury as ‘Christmas Eve lined up for Wolves vs Chelsea'[LATEST]
Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag fires huge warning to Onana and risks Sancho repeat[WARNING]
Raphael Varane accused of hiding behind Harry Maguire in ruthless Man Utd rant[CRITICISM]
Good week – Boris Becker
The disgraced Becker is back in tennis – and with a good gig too as coach to World No 6 Holger Rune. Becker, who coached Novak Djokovic to six Grand Slams before his spectacular fall from grace that ended with a two-and-a-half year sentence in prison after being found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act.
Rune, 20, is a hot prospect having reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon this year. He is clearly willing to overlook issues such as untrustworthiness with Becker having hid £2.5m of assets to avoid paying off debts during his dark period in his desire to tap into the German’s knowledge.
There is one issue however. The terms of Becker’s deportation from the UK upon his release prevent him from returning until October 2024 which means Rune will be flying solo at Wimbledon next year.
Bad week – Anthony Joshua
The former world heavyweight champion emerged on Friday blinking into the light after spending four days immersed in a room in total darkness. It was a strange idea of fun – especially as Joshua paid £2,000 for the privilege.
The dark room treatment, which is supposed to cleanse the mind, came to his attention when NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried it in Oregon in February. Rodgers’ conclusion was that it was a “great reset” but rather longer than he would have wished for in hindsight.
If Joshua had wanted to be alone with his thoughts, might it not have been more rewarding for him to have gone to a Cricket World Cup match?
Source: Read Full Article