Why Ange Postecoglou’s first season has been a success, Tottenham Hotspur, analysis, why has Ange Postecoglou been criticised, Premier League news, latest, updates

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Almost like clockwork, the scathing analysis from Premier League pundits dominated the airwaves during Tottenham’s recent dip in form.

Four consecutive losses put a major dent in Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations, although a 2-1 win over Burnley ensured those hopes are not dead just yet.

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It was a familiar storm of criticism from experts whenever things start going wrong for a manager who has never played or coached in the Premier League.

Sure, that individual may have had success abroad with their own specific style, but they don’t know the Premier League.

Yet to use that same analysis when it comes to Ange Postecoglou is immensely unfair.

Dealt a difficult hand on the eve of the 2023/24 Premier League season, Postecoglou has had to drill his eye-catching style into his players, most of which he did not bring in.

And he goes into the final two games of the season sitting in fifth, with a spot in the Champions League still up for grabs.

Postecoglou has had a successful debut season in the Premier League with Tottenham. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images


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Ask any manager about the impact of losing your star player on the eve of the season and they’ll tell you it’s detrimental to the club’s entire campaign.

If anything, it’d be used as a mitigating circumstance should the rest of the season crumble and most fans would feel it’s a justifiable defence.

But Tottenham and Postecoglou didn’t just lose their star player, they lost a club legend who happened to be their record goal scorer in Harry Kane.

Sold to Bayern Munich for the hefty sum of $AUD189 million, Kane’s departure was not unexpected but it dealt a crippling blow to Tottenham’s aspirations, even if Postecoglou insisted he planned for life without Kane.

Regardless, attempting to replace a man who scored 280 goals for the club is a near-impossible task.

Even then, Postecoglou never directly replaced Kane in the transfer market and elected to spread the income across multiple players such as James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Brennan Johnson and Guglielmo Vicario to name four.

Aside from signing players of his choosing that would fit his style of play, Postecoglou also needed time for the squad to understand his philosophy and tactics.

Tottenham’s squad had gone through a cycle of three managers who weren’t exactly known for expansive and attacking football in Nuno Esperito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

So for a group of players who had been accustomed to one way of playing, learning the Postecoglou way would take time and no amount of new additions would speed up that process.

Tottenham have had to learn the Postecoglou style of play. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The fact Tottenham went on a ten-match unbeaten run in which they won eight games may have allowed expectations to balloon into the realm of the unrealistic.

But Postecoglou, who always speaks from his experiences as a football fan before a manager, wanted the fans to get swept up in the excitement and optimism of this early success.

Four losses from their next five quickly suppressed the joyous mood and provided the first reminder Postecoglou’s revolution needed time.

A number of injuries to key players, especially in their defensive unit, also exposed a worrying lack of depth in Tottenham’s squad.

Square holes in the back four were filled with round pegs as fullbacks Ben Davies and Emerson Royal were forced to deputise in the unfamiliar roles of centre back.

Maddison, who had quickly established himself as Tottenham’s creative fulcrum, was another key absentee as the club won just four of ten league games he missed due to an ankle injury.

Yet Postecoglou found a way, like he often does, to plough forward.

After a 2-1 loss to West Ham United on December 7, Tottenham won ten of their next 16 games to keep the club firmly in the mix for a Champions Leagues spot.

However, the race for the top four took a brutal twist for Tottenham as four straight losses to Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool cranked up the volume on criticism directed at Postecoglou.

Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood boldly suggested Postecoglou had been “found out”.

A run of four consecutive defeats had pundits questioning Postecoglou’s methods. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“When he’s talking there about set pieces not being important, it is important and there’s no reason to say it’s not important,” Sherwood said on Premier League Productions’ coverage after the loss to Liverpool.

“This is the Premier League, this is the most competitive league in the world. You’re going to get found out.

“It’s not Scotland, with respect, it’s not Japan, it’s not Australia.”

Jamie Redknapp, who spent three seasons with Tottenham, also made a worrying claim on Postecoglou’s body language after the loss to Chelsea.

“I look at the manager and he looks beaten,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.

“I was like, ‘wow, that’s pretty damning’.

“I don’t like to see a manager like that. When you manage Tottenham – he’s not been there that long – a lot of them get like that after a while but that’s really early.”

Yet despite all of the noise and criticism about his style of play not befitting the rigours of the Premier League, Tottenham remain in contention for the top four.

They have already eclipsed last season’s points total, scored more goals and conceded fewer with two games remaining.

Tottenham have already improved on last season’s points total with two games to spare. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

And Postecoglou has done it all with a squad that isn’t completely his and without Kane, who scored 30 of Tottenham’s 70 league goals last season.

It’s why Manchester United legend Roy Keane, who is never short of a fiery take, believes Postecoglou has done well considering the sizeable task that lay ahead back in August.

“Rightly or wrongly, we are reflecting on the last three, four or five games,” Keane told Sky Sports.

“But if you think back to the start of the season, there were big challenges for him. He was new to the Premier League, there were question marks over his CV, which was unfair.

“But he has had a pretty decent season. It’s just over the last few games where they have fallen away.

“You start analysing Spurs and the perception of Spurs is that there is always a softness to them. He has got to try and change that.

“He will look back on some positives at the end of the season, but to get to the next level, when you finish fifth or sixth, that next step of competing and getting into the Champions League is the hardest step.

“But give the man a chance.”

Postecoglou has surpassed most fans’ pre-season expectations. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

However unlikely it may be, it’s remarkable to think Tottenham are still in with a chance of securing Champions League football.

But to do so, they must defeat Manchester City on Wednesday morning. A draw will simply not be good enough.

It is a fixture fraught with complications for Tottenham diehards.

Beating the defending champions will provide a significant boost in their bid to finish in the top four, but it also gives their arch rivals Arsenal the edge in the nailbiting title race.

Postecoglou fired back when a reporter told him some Tottenham fans want the team to lose to City to prevent Arsenal from winning the league title, stating he’ll “never understand” that mentality.

City have also not won away to Tottenham in the Premier League in 2,023 days, so something will have to give.

And if Tottenham can stun City, they must then beat the already-relegated Sheffield United on the final day and hope Crystal Palace defeat Aston Villa if Champions League football is to return to the club.

Tottenham will need to win their final two games and hope for a favour from Crystal Palace to make the top four. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Even if Tottenham finish in fifth, the season should not be viewed as a failure.

Postecoglou spoke prior to the City game that he and the club will “not look for some silver bullet that is going to get us to where we want”.

“It is hard work, it is perseverance, it is resilience, it is quality that will get us where we want,” Postecoglou said.

“Not to fall for any sort of false dawns or short-term result reactions.”

If anything, Tottenham fans should already be looking forward to what Postecoglou will conjure up in his second season.

During his stints with the Brisbane Roar, Yokohama F. Marinos and Celtic, the 58-year-old has averaged more points per game in his second season.

Postecoglou’s ability to improve on last season without Kane should be more than enough of an indication that better times are on the horizon for Tottenham.

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