Ange Postecoglou has changed the atmosphere at Tottenham Hotspur in a matter of months, and he has no intention of lowering expectations. In fact, he believes his daring team should be regarded as title contenders in the Premier League.
Tottenham could move up to third place and only three points behind leaders Liverpool if they win at Manchester United on Monday morning (AEDT).
With Romanian defender Radu Dragusin signing a six-year contract, Germany striker Timo Werner joining on loan this week, and players like Cristian Romero, James Maddison, and Manor Solomon getting close to returning from injury, Postecoglou thinks Tottenham will have a stronger second half of the season than the first.
The former Celtics manager responded, “Why not?” when asked if that meant they were vying for the championship.
“You would turn around and say, ‘Come on, Ange,’ if I said no. We are by definition, don’t we? “So, yes, we are, and I’ve always stated that until you’re not, why rule out the possibility?” he said to the press.
“We’re persevering after going through a really trying time. Despite four games where the results went against us, we managed to rally. We have not left the room.
“We have been putting on fairly consistent performances. We are confident that we can end the season stronger given the circumstances we’ve faced and created.
“This is our platform to launch.”
The extent to which Tottenham can advance will primarily depend on Postecoglou significantly raising his record against the “big six,” especially on the road.
Tottenham has only managed nine victories in 125 away Premier League games against United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Even though they have a strong record at Manchester City, they have a history of performing mediocrely against the best teams.
Spurs have shown encouraging signs this season, winning at home against Manchester United and Liverpool and drawing away from City and Arsenal. This suggests that Postecoglou’s expansive style is enabling Tottenham to compete with the title contenders.
A win at United would complete Tottenham’s first double over the Red Devils in twenty-five years and would be the kind of dramatic victory that would spark title rumors.
When asked about Tottenham’s difficulties at the top clubs, Postecoglou responded, “I always feel like I wasn’t there so I don’t know the reasons or whether there was something endemic in the club that didn’t allow that.”
“I just start tackling as soon as I walk into a club.” I believe it matters how you play in those games because you have to be able to play in those big games, especially when you’re not at home, if you want to succeed.”
Postecoglou’s only loss to a top-six rival this season was the 4-1 home defeat by Chelsea which initiated a slump after a sparkling start to the campaign, although even in that game there were mitigating circumstances with Tottenham finishing the game with nine men and several injuries.
“We’ve performed well in those games [this season], in addition to results,” he remarked.
“I don’t believe we left any of those games believing there was a significant difference between us and them.
“That is crucial, and we will face a significant challenge at Old Trafford as well because of the atmosphere there. Home comforts are great, and we have a great crowd behind us, but if you can do it away from home in adversity I think it accelerates your growth.”