Ange Postecoglou said some of his Tottenham players slipped into self-preservation mode after they squandered the chance to reclaim top spot in the Premier League in a second defeat in six days. He acknowledged his side “ran out of steam” at Wolves after failing to build on Brennan Johnson’s opener.
In the second half of the game, Wolves made an incredible comeback by scoring two goals during added time. Pablo Sarabia, who came in as a substitute in the second half, and Mario Lemina scored the goals, overshadowing Johnson’s first goal for Tottenham.
Postecoglou stated that although they were ahead in the game, many of the players had not played in a while and were probably thinking about preserving themselves until the end of the match. This was to be expected given the lineup they had on the field.
Despite scoring a goal in the third minute, he noticed that his team’s performance became more defensive. He stated, “We had a good start, but we could have been more proactive and assertive, especially with the ball.” He also acknowledged that the numerous changes made to the lineup may have affected the team’s fluidity, as three of the four defenders were starting for the first time this season.
“We have also implemented a few adjustments above, so the flow may not be as smooth. However, we could have approached it with a more optimistic attitude.”
This is the initial occasion that Postecoglou, as a manager of Celtic, has experienced back-to-back losses since September 2021. Despite their second defeat within a week, the Australian remained diplomatic and did not make any excuses for his team’s performance. Their unbeaten streak came to an abrupt halt on Monday against Chelsea, where both Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero received red cards.
Postecoglou had to make four alterations to the team due to injuries to James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, who are both expected to be out until the new year with ankle and hamstring injuries. Additionally, Romero and Udogie were suspended. Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg started their first league matches of the season, while Ben Davies and Emerson Royal made their second appearances.
“Some members of the team have already had their first matches of the year. Changing three out of four players in the defensive line can be quite disruptive, especially when they have not played at all,” stated Postecoglou. “However, this experience will benefit them and make them stronger. Now that they have a match under their belt, there are many positive aspects to take away.”