Soccer

Ange Postecoglou up for the challenge of taking injury-hit Spurs to Man City

Ange Postecoglou’s side have lost their last three games (David Davies/PA)
Ange Postecoglou’s side have lost their last three games (David Davies/PA) Ange Postecoglou’s side have lost their last three games (David Davies/PA)

Ange Postecoglou insists he will relish the prospect of taking injury-hit Tottenham to Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend.

Spurs make the trip to the Etihad on a three-match losing run and with their list of absentees into double figures with Cristian Romero, Micky van de Ven, James Maddison and Rodrigo Bentancur among those sidelined.

Tottenham boast a good record against Pep Guardiola’s City with five wins from their last eight meetings, but that has come from playing a more pragmatic style compared to Postecoglou’s attacking philosophy.

Even with a growing injury list, the Australian is not about to ditch his possession-based, front-foot tactics any time soon despite a seemingly daunting visit to last season’s treble-winners.

Guglielmo Vicario, Oliver Skipp, Ben Davies and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Guglielmo Vicario, Oliver Skipp, Ben Davies and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg Spurs have lost their last three games (John Walton/PA)

“It’s always a challenge playing against City or any team Pep manages. You love that, you relish that, that’s the arena you want to be in, measuring yourself against the very best,” Postecoglou stated.

“Yeah, great if things were a bit smoother for us but it is what it is and I still think during this period for us, even last week, there were moments in the game when we played some fantastic football.

“We’ve got to crack on, we’ve got to get on with it. We can’t take our eyes off what we’re trying to achieve here. For me that’s always paramount to everything I do, every decision I make.

“Every time we put a team out there it’s about us becoming the team we want to become. Through that process there’s going to be some challenges, as there is now, some tough times and you just have to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.

“For me these are the important times because this will show what kind of football team we want to be. You can sort of shy away, say we have injuries, we’re playing Man City away but you’re either going to be a club that tries to knock off the big clubs or you are a big club. You are one or the other.

“My hope and my ambition for this club is to make it a big club and to do that you have to be successful and win things. To win things you have to have a plan, stick to it and believe in it.”

Postecoglou confirmed that Bentancur is set for a “couple of months” on the treatment table with a torn ankle ligament sustained in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

While disappointed for the Uruguay international, Postecoglou has been impressed by his attitude after only returning from an ACL injury last month.

He added: “We’re still getting some information, but it’ll be well into early next year. A couple of months at least.

Rodrigo Bentancur
Rodrigo Bentancur Rodrigo Bentancur is on the sidelines again (John Walton/PA)

“Talking to him yesterday, he’s such a positive guy. If it was me I’d be a hell of a lot grumpier around the place.

“He’s got a really positive outlook. He knows that he’s been through a tough time and now he’s got to go through a shorter tough time but he also knows that, and he felt it when he was out there, that he hasn’t lost anything as a footballer.

“That’s the important thing. I think that’s given him the incentive to be back as quickly as possible and again make an impact for us.”

This week has also seen talk of sin bins being introduced in football after the International Football Association Board (IFAB) backed the idea that temporary dismissals of players for offences such as dissent and specific tactical fouls could be implemented.

But Postecoglou responded: “Bin it mate, bin the whole idea. Just forget about it.”