Can you explain the significance of lemons? Is there any spiritual aspect to holding hands in the dressing room or visualizing? Have you ever played “You’ll Never Walk Alone” during training before facing Liverpool?
When examining the first few months of Ange Postecoglou’s time at Tottenham, it is hard to resist the temptation to search for a grand revelation, and the more unconventional, the better. Perhaps something similar to how former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had a unique perspective on citrus fruits and universal energy. Or how Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta has utilized unconventional methods for motivation. The events at Tottenham since Postecoglou’s hiring in June have been quite absurd.
The team that finished in eighth place last season, failing to qualify for Europe for the first time since 2008-09, amidst widespread dissatisfaction, will face Crystal Palace on Friday night with the goal of maintaining their lead in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur has had their most successful start to a season since 1960-61, when they achieved the Double – winning seven matches and drawing two out of nine – and they have been considered as potential contenders for the title.
Many people do not actually believe this yet, but considering that a lot of fans just wanted to enjoy attending games again and seeing their team play aggressively and with flair, the unexpected success has made them feel like they are in a dream.
The truth behind the Big Ange movement is that it is honest and lacks exaggeration. Similar to the man himself, it is based on practicality and genuineness, using common sense and making logical decisions. Some individuals at the club are skeptical because they can’t fathom having a manager who isn’t eccentric.
This is definitely Postecoglou’s unique selling point. When you act like a reasonable person, when you have a life and a view beyond football, when you are wise, balanced, and accountable, it is not difficult to understand how those around you may feel at ease and empowered.
Postecoglou has been incredibly effective in handling various situations since he started, including Harry Kane’s departure, Richarlison’s mental challenges, and the Manor Solomon’s involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict. He has remained open and unwavering, even adding a touch of humor at times, which has only added to his relatable personality and gained support from players and fans alike.
Postecoglou doesn’t engage in casual conversation at the training ground. He may greet others with a simple “Morning mate, how you doing,” but he generally keeps his distance, particularly with the players. Despite this, his warm demeanor is evident and he has created a culture of inclusivity and lack of fear.
The club recently shared a team photo that included not only players and coaches, but also all staff members at the training ground – from communication personnel to chefs. Postecoglou requested this and makes an effort to know everyone’s names; his memory for this is impressive. He even includes players who may not currently be in favor. There is no “bomb squad” under Postecoglou’s leadership. Hugo Lloris (if you recall) still trains with the first team and those on the outskirts speak highly of Postecoglou and his tactics.
It is clear that Postecoglou’s style of play is in line with the club’s values and what fans desire – a bold and exciting attacking approach. His training methods are rapid, innovative, and high-energy. He utilizes various areas for drills, seamlessly transitioning between them without breaks. He may lead the sessions at times, while also delegating some to his assistants.
With Spurs, it is usually possible to see a managerial hire as a reaction to the previous one; the contrast between Antonio Conte, who departed in March, and Postecoglou is particularly vivid. Conte did not want to be there, in part because of his personal situation – he was shaken by three bereavements, was very ill himself at one point and missed his family back in Italy. His bad moods made the players and staff miserable and he alienated people by how he worked.
Conte rarely offered any notice of schedules, often waiting until the morning itself which, for example, could sap at the morale of the grounds team, who might have prepared a pitch only to find it would not be needed. As for the players, they lived in fear of the eruptions if they made a mistake.
Postecoglou has a more organized and team-oriented approach, allowing for mistakes to be made. What occurs if the team gives up a goal while attempting to play from the back? The blame should not fall on the player who loses possession, but rather those who did not offer suitable options. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with Postecoglou, as he has made this expectation known and it is empowering.
According to Postecoglou, courage is demonstrated by being willing to receive the ball and, especially, continuing to do so after making a mistake. This can also be observed in his choice to not bring any of his own coaches to Spurs. He may not explicitly state it, but it speaks volumes about his confidence in himself.
Postecoglou is eager to join Tottenham; since he was a Liverpool-enthusiast child in Australia, the 57-year-old has desired to be a part of English football. The players who were acquired during the summer also had a strong desire to join the team. While this may seem like a fundamental expectation, the club has previously signed players who were not as passionate and it did not have positive results.
According to sources at The Guardian, Tottenham Hotspur decided not to sign a player for a specific position this summer because they believed he was more motivated to leave his previous club rather than join them. Instead, they signed another player who manager Ange Postecoglou could sense was eager to join the team. Postecoglou personally spoke to all of the new signings and only approved their deals when he felt a genuine desire from them to be part of the team.
The new additions during the summer have stood out, particularly Guglielmo Vicario, Micky van de Ven, and James Maddison, all of whom fit well with Postecoglou’s style. Don’t forget Destiny Udogie, who is also a fresh face. Additionally, the manager has breathed new life into current players like Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Yves Bissouma, and Pape Sarr.
Postecoglou’s main choice was to completely change the team’s leadership team. Kane, Lloris, Eric Dier, and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg were replaced by Son Heung-min as captain, Maddison and Romero as vice-captains. All three have stepped up, particularly Son, who has adapted effortlessly to his new position as a No 9.
Son confidently teased Richarlison during Monday’s victory against Fulham for his flashy trick, but there have also been smaller details that add to his exceptional performance. For instance, he strategically positions the pre-match huddle in front of the away fans’ section during away games to foster a stronger connection between the team and supporters. It’s truly remarkable what can result from having the right individuals in the appropriate roles.