Ange Postecoglou admits early cup exits have proved costly for Tottenham this season

Ange Postecoglou admits early cup exits have proved costly for Tottenham this season

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou says his side's sparse schedule has been detrimental to their rhythm and momentum this season.

Spurs will play just 41 games this term -- their fewest since 2005-06, when they had just 40 -- after missing out on European football and crashing out of both domestic cups early.

Postecoglou's side return to action against Crystal Palace on Saturday having not played since the 2-1 defeat to Wolves on February 17, because their trip to Chelsea last weekend was postponed due to the Blues' involvement in the Carabao Cup Final.

Postecoglou believes Spurs' stop-start campaign since the start of November is down to a number of factors, including injuries, but he would have preferred more matches.

"Definitely, yeah. Because, for us, a club like us who want to compete at the highest level against the best, you need a strong squad and to have a strong squad you need consistent games and opportunities," he said.

"At the moment, if we get an injury then we’re liable to throw somebody who hasn’t played for four or five weeks. It’s not easy on that player, whereas if you’ve got games, there’s a natural rotation that you need to make all the time and also gives you a little bit of rhythm.

"I had the other extreme last year of 60-plus games at Celtic, but I found that a lot easier to manage than having less games or having a disrupted season like we’ve had this year.”

Tottenham were knocked out of the FA Cup by Man City (REUTERS)
Tottenham were knocked out of the FA Cup by Man City (REUTERS)

Postecoglou, though, does not think Spurs have either an advantage or disadvantage compared to their top-four rivals, who are all competing on two or more fronts, during the run-in and says he would not make any major changes to the calendar.

"Not really, some of our disruption is self-inflicted," the Australian said. "If we had better runs in the cups and if we were in Europe.

"So some of it is in our control. Maybe it’s the contrast to where I came from, because at Celtic we had games every three days, there was rhythm and momentum, but since then we haven’t been able to get the same flow and rhythm into our schedule.

"Some of that’s our own doing so got to accept that. One way to remedy that is to get more games for ourselves next year."

He added: "Even [the Premier League winter break in January] this year was a bit weird. I dunno. Far be it from me to get involved in scheduling. I’m good at being told where to be and what to do."

Despite their lack of minutes, Postecoglou insists his players have not lacked intensity during his first season in charge and believes they still rank top of the League for "most high-speed metrics".

Asked about the difficulty of maintaining intensity during periods between games, he said: "I think it’s probably been the one area of our game this year that’s been consistent.

"If there’s one area of our game that’s got us to where we are now it has been that.

"When you look at some of the physical parameters across the league, we’ve been outstanding and that’s helped us overcome the lack of – for want of a better term – the quality in our play, at times.

"Most of the high speed metrics, I think we’d be top of the league. I try and paint an accurate picture of how I feel about how we’re going … but we’re going OK. Maybe better than OK. And I think there is a reason for that.

"You can look for reasons why we’re not going better but there’s some pretty strong reasons why we are where we are, as well."