Soccer

Ange Postecoglou: Performance against Arsenal more important to me than result

Ryan Sessegnon is among the injury absentees for Tottenham (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Ryan Sessegnon is among the injury absentees for Tottenham (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) Ryan Sessegnon is among the injury absentees for Tottenham (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Ange Postecoglou insists Tottenham’s performance at Arsenal and not the result will be the biggest measure of their progress under him.

Spurs have enjoyed a flying start to life under the Australian and optimism is rife following last weekend’s dramatic victory over Sheffield United, which puts them joint-second alongside Liverpool and Sunday’s opponents Arsenal in the Premier League.

Tottenham have not won in the league at the Emirates since 2010 and while Postecoglou understands the significance of the fixture, his yardstick for progress will be if his team produce his front-foot philosophy in a white hot atmosphere.

Postecoglou said: “The supporters, irrespective of your past record, always see the next derby as the one they want to win and that doesn’t change.

“From our perspective, it’s a great challenge for us as a football team that’s beginning on a journey and trying to have an identity on the way we play.

“There’s no greater test than playing one of the top teams in the comp away from home, who also happens to be your biggest rival.

“It’s a great test for us, a great challenge for us. We’ve got to go out there and see how we cope with all of that.

“We’re five games in. I understand that for many people, they will see this as our first real test and I get that. It is pretty easy, you could almost write two stories now: if we are successful, great we’re on the right track. If we’re not, we’ve still got a long way to go.

“For me, what is going to be more important is how much of our football I see in a big game like this. How much of us can I see against a top opponent?

“That will give me the biggest indicator of where we’re at, but ultimately we’ll still be six games into a new cycle, a new group of players, a very young group of players.

“Either way, irrespective of the outcome, I’d say the performance will be my biggest measure but knowing we have still got a long way to go.”

Similarities can be drawn between the rebuilding job Postecoglou has been tasked with at Tottenham and the work achieved by Mikel Arteta during the past four years at Arsenal.

There has been plenty of change on and off the pitch since Postecoglou was appointed by Spurs in June and this week saw Scott Munn finally begin his role as chief football officer.

Chief scout Leonardo Gabbanini has also left the club, with Tottenham set to appoint a new technical director to run transfers following Fabio Paratici’s resignation as director of football in April.

Ryan Sessegnon
Ryan Sessegnon Ryan Sessegnon is among the injury absentees for Tottenham (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Postecoglou is used to sweeping changes upon arriving at a new club, and he insisted: “Normal for me. Wherever I have gone.

“I’ve constantly said that if you want to change, you need to change. All these things happen, sometimes not sequential or all at the same time, but over the course of time you find we are heading off in a new direction and some people make their own decisions about whether they’re involved in that and other times we look for, or the club look to bring new people in.

That’s the kind of position we’re in as a club. As I said, it wasn’t going to take one window for us to build the squad we wanted and it wasn’t going to take a couple of months to have the structure we wanted.

“It will evolve over the next 12 months, couple of years I think you’ll find, and we will have a constant evolution of people and the way we play, the way we train and the environment itself.

“All these kind of things are a natural consequence of the club deciding to change direction from last year.”

Spurs will be without Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Rodrigo Bentancur (knee), Giovani Lo Celso (quad), Bryan Gil (groin) and Ivan Perisic (knee) for Sunday’s derby.