Worst experience of career – Ange Postecoglou feared for integrity in City loss

Spurs lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Tuesday in a match which could have put Arsenal in pole position to win the title.

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou saw his team beaten by Man City
Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou saw his team beaten by Man City (Adam Davy/PA)

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has described Tuesday night as the “worst experience” of his management career.

Spurs lost 2-0 at home to Manchester City in a match which left Tottenham supporters’ conflicted given a positive result against Pep Guardiola’s team would have put rivals Arsenal in pole position to win a first Premier League title in 20 years.

Postecoglou laughed off pre-match suggestions Spurs fans were happy for their own team to lose but faced a different reality on the night and reflected candidly about it ahead of Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United.

Title-chasing Man City claimed a 2-0 win at Spurs
Title-chasing Man City claimed a 2-0 win at Spurs (Adam Davy/PA)

“Look, I will try and explain it in this way. That is probably the worst experience I have had as a football manager in a game,” Postecoglou admitted.

“Because once I realised I got it wrong, in terms of what the atmosphere would be like and what people felt, I got a real anxiety within me of what happens if Man City, best team in the world and disposing of teams quite easily in the build-up, what if we play as well as we can, but they beat us 5-0?

“I got in cold sweats thinking about people questioning my integrity and the people I work with.

“Even watching the game back, there was a comment – somebody mentioned it to me – in commentary where someone says, ‘oh Tottenham are having a real go here,’ and you’re laughing about it. But that is 26 years of my life and if nothing else, people should know I love this game.

“I would hate to think, as Manchester City could have done to us, if we were on the end of a heavy defeat, then people would be questioning whether I prepared the team.

“Before people say that’s not going to happen, we know what over social media would have happened, 100 per cent and I would have to try to defend myself.

“That’s why I was animated on the night. I felt I just needed the boys and credit to them, I thought beside everything else our football was outstanding on the night and that was important.

“Not just for me, but for the players and for our football club because it would have cast aspersions on us as a football club.

“I don’t think anyone can say we didn’t make Man City earn that win the other night and it could have gone a very different way without anything changing from us just by Man City being Man City.”

Postecoglou also discussed the clip which appeared on social media of himself involved in a heated exchange with a spectator during the City loss.

He said: “He wasn’t happy we just conceded a goal, so I turned around to find out what his problem was. And he used language that he shouldn’t and he was abusive. If I hear that, I don’t care who it is – I will deal with it.

“But he is more than welcome to come back next time and take his seat up and express his opinions. If he swears, if he is abusive, he will cop the same treatment from me again.

“At the same time you also feel ‘well mate, I cop it at opposition grounds every week, give me a break at my home ground’.”

Spurs will be without Giovani Lo Celso on Sunday due to a knock, but Rodrigo Bentancur is available.

Postecoglou spoke with the midfielder following his angry reaction after he kicked his chair in the dugout repeatedly having been hauled off against City whilst on a yellow card.

“He wanted to be out there helping the team to win. He felt he wanted to be out there fighting. “Postecoglou said.

“We had a chat about it. He was angry but I don’t think that’s the way you react. He understands that but it wasn’t the biggest issue of the night for me, that’s for sure.”