Soccer

Discipline has ‘let us down’ and must improve, says Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham take on Manchester City this weekend (John Walton/PA).
Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham take on Manchester City this weekend (John Walton/PA). Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham take on Manchester City this weekend (John Walton/PA).

Ange Postecoglou is excited to welcome Yves Bissouma back into the fold for Sunday’s trip to Manchester City, but admits Tottenham must improve their discipline.

Bissouma is available again after serving a one-match ban against Aston Villa for receiving five yellow cards before the halfway point of the Premier League season.

The former Brighton midfielder enjoyed a superb start to the new campaign but has only played three times since being sent off for two bookings at Luton in early October.

Bissouma is not alone in missing matches due to suspension, with Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie also seeing red this term.

“Really pleased to get Biss back. He is such an important part of our set-up with the way he plays in that role,” Postecoglou said.

“If you look at the first third of the season, from a results perspective I reckon we are still on the positive side of the ledger.

“Performance-wise, I still think we are on the positive side of the ledger, even though we’ve had some disappointments, but an area we need to improve is discipline. He is part of that.

“That has let us down in this first half of the year. Not just in terms of cards, but being really focused in our approach and these are the things we need to learn as a team.

“I am sure Biss probably feels himself a bit frustrated with the fact he had such a great start and now it’s been disrupted, but great to have him back. Particularly against a team like City, he is going to be really important for us.

“It is kind of a lesson for him and us as a group. If you want things to run a bit more smoothly, you have to be really disciplined in your approach and really focused in what you do.

“Hopefully he comes out of this knowing for him to maintain becoming a really important part of our team, he needs to have that discipline and focus.”

The return of Bissouma is welcome for Postecoglou, who remains without Pape Sarr (hamstring) and this week discovered Rodrigo Bentancur (ankle) will be out until February

Spurs’ list of absentees has now reached double figures, which contributes towards the visitors being long odds to upset City on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Tottenham boast an excellent record against the Premier League champions, albeit previously playing in a pragmatic way, and Postecoglou knows his markedly different attacking approach will bring questions.

He added: “That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. We need to be scrutinised. I need to be scrutinised, I need to be questioned. That’s what tests my resolve.

“I ain’t gong to change, but bring it on. It doesn’t just test me, it tests the players, it tests the club. How resolved are we about doing this?

“Look at all the top teams, they’ve all been through the process, through the tough times. They’ve all got questioned, they’ve all got scrutinised, they’ve all had criticism.

“How did they handle it, the ones that are through the other side? The ones who handled it differently, where are they now?

“I have a real strong belief in what I do and where the team is heading and I’m just not going to waver from it.

“There’s a reason I’m sitting here and the reason is the end game is not to beat City. If that’s the end game, that’s been done.

“It’s a hell of an achievement to knock them off, absolutely, but it’s not why I’m here.

“I’m trying to set up a team to be successful.”