25 Sep Postecoglou continues huge impact on fearless Tottenham
LONDON — Tottenham‘s 2-2 draw at Arsenal on Sunday felt like a big win for Ange Postecoglou. The Australian manager spent a couple of minutes on his own in the middle of the pitch, 90 minutes before kickoff in an empty Emirates Stadium, to take it all in. He left Arsenal’s home a few hours later with a huge smile on his face and the feeling of a good job done.
His Spurs side had come back twice, going toe-to-toe with the Gunners while still playing their style of football. It was always the plan.
“[Postecoglou] is really clear. He is really straight. We know what he expects from us. We know what we have to do for him,” defender Micky van de Ven told ESPN after the game.
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Playing brave football is Postecoglou’s motto, and it was no different at Arsenal on Sunday. “That’s what we’re working on. We want to play our football,” forward Son Heung-Min told ESPN. “We showed how we want to play the whole season: it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. It was very important.
“Obviously we made some mistakes and they had chances, but still we want to play in that way. With that young team, I think it’s very very good. It’s credit to the players that they took risks and want to play with that bravery.”
To get there, Spurs are working hard while Postecoglou focuses on changing this team’s mentality.
“Obviously you can’t see our training sessions, but everyone is working really, really hard to be part of it,” Son said. “This performance wasn’t just random. If you see our training sessions every single day, it is not normal. We are working really, really hard, intense. Everyone is pressuring each other to improve, which is very, very good.
“If you have a young team with good rhythm, we can exploit this situation, and that’s what we’re looking for. The younger players are covering the inexperience with passion and bravery, which is very important. I hope we can continue in this way [moving forward].”
For Van de Ven, the key to Postecoglou’s success — Tottenham are fourth in the table, with four wins and two draws in their first six games — is in the environment created by the Aussie.
“He is bringing us together like a family. He’s more like a dad or something. We are like brothers together and we have to do this for each other. You see this on the pitch and we run for each other, we fight for each other and we do everything for each other. He is building that.”
Between the collective strength of the team now, especially the James Maddison-Son axis (Son even calls his new teammate “the star boy”), and the new mentality, Tottenham are on the up.
“We are building together something we want to reach this season. I think it is going really well, and we’re helping each other. We fight for each other and we have to keep that going. I think it’s maybe going to be a nice season,” Van de Ven said, before adding, “we don’t fear anyone!”
The next test for the Ange Postecoglou revolution: Liverpool at home, next weekend.