Ange Postecoglou discusses Tottenham transfer need and makes Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp point

Ange Postecoglou has opened up on Tottenham's tough run of form
Ange Postecoglou has opened up on Tottenham's tough run of form -Credit:ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou has stated that Tottenham "need to start filling the gaps" in terms of their starting XI and "more importantly" the squad. Arriving in N17 last June following two very successful seasons north of the border with Celtic, the Australian has had two transfer windows so far to try and transform his Spurs team as he bids to bring the glory days back to north London.

Starting the season brightly but seeing their form drop off from November onwards, the Lilywhites are still in an excellent position to qualify for Europe but they go into this weekend's game against Burnley on the back of four successive league defeats. Undoubtedly the 58-year-old's toughest period as Tottenham boss so far, Postecoglou has constantly reiterated throughout the season that the club will go through tough times on their journey and that everything was not going to be solved in two transfer windows.

The Australian does believe that Tottenham are probably further ahead in terms of their squad following some shrewd purchases but he is well aware that more needs to be done as even the starting XI is in its "infancy".

"Yeah, and it was never going to happen in two transfer windows," said the 58-year-old in an interview with Optus Sport. "What you’ve got to remember is, when I came in last year, the team had finished eighth last season but it wasn’t eighth of a team that was on the climb.

"It was eighth for a team that was kind of going in the other direction, because a lot of the players were getting to an age where it was getting time for the next challenge. And then you’ve lost your best player from that as well.

"So you’ve got eighth, decline, you lose your best player and, by the way, we want you to totally change the way we play from this [defensive football] to the other end of the spectrum. So all those kind of factors I knew was never going to get done in two transfer windows, this process of building a squad. Even the starting XI, we’re in the infancy of.

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"Now I think we’ve done really well in the transfer windows so far which means we’re probably further ahead than I thought we’d be in terms of the squad. Because when I look at [Guglielmo] Vicario, [Micky] Van de Ven, [Destiny] Udogie, Pape Sarr, Brennan Johnson – guys who are kind of in their first year of real Premier League at this club, all 20/21/22, I think [wow]. Apart from Vicario, but he’s still fairly inexperienced for a goalkeeper.

"I think I’ve got the formation there of being further along, but we need to start filling the gaps further up in terms of our starting XI but also, like you said, more importantly for our squad."

At a time when some managers may be fearing the worst after four successive Premier League defeats, these are in fact the times Postecoglou enjoys the most in his quest to build a successful Tottenham team. It is very much a time for him to step up and also gain a crucial insight into his players and the club.

“This is the bit I love mate. I feel this is my purpose. If I’m not enjoying or being at my best when times are toughest, then why am I here?” he said. “That’s my function. You don’t manufacture bad times, you don’t try to create this scenario, but when this scenario presents itself, and it always will, it has throughout my whole career, then that’s when I need to be, not at my best, but at my most alert and most visible.

A lot of my coaching and relationships, I’m very empowering of the people around me, I give them responsibility, I’m not in their faces, but in these times I want to be more visible than anybody else at the club.

"This has got to be about me now, so I’ve got to lead the way out. It’s not enjoyable when you’re going through it, but part of me loves this part of the process."

He added: "If things are always going well, how do you know? I think I said in the first meeting, I said, 'there will come a point where we hit a real stumbling block this year, we’re gonna hit some forks in the road and we’re gonna fall over and through that time it will reveal how much conviction we have in what we’re doing.'

"It will come. It might come at the start, in the middle, might come at the end and that’ll be a good opportunity for us, not just players, but coaches and the whole club, to see how do we deal with this knowing we’ve gone off in a different direction now.

"How much belief and conviction do we have in this direction now time is the toughest? You don’t manufacture it, but it’s a necessary part of the process. You need to see how people are going to react to difficult times, difficult challenges.

"It’s not just the players, it’s the coaches, it’s everyone involved in the football club. How’s everyone reacting to four losses? Is people’s demeanour different, are they talking different?

"This will be here again next year, maybe in a different form, maybe it’ll be we’re going to a title, the pressure’s there then. So the pressure is always there, it’s how you deal with it. Times like this are great for me, I’m always alert, but I’m hyperalert now as to how everyone’s going through this."

Despite the team's poor run of form recently, Postecoglou has still achieved more points (60) from his first 35 games as a Premier League manager compared to Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp (58) and Mikel Arteta (50) of Arsenal. With the aforementioned clubs keeping faith with their managers even through some tricky periods, Liverpool have gone on to win a handful of trophies under Klopp and Arteta has had his team in title contention in the past two seasons.

"I remember at the time people weren’t certain on Jurgen, they weren’t certain on Mikel, they were coming for them," Postecoglou said. "So the fact that people are questioning me is no surprise because we all go through that. I shouldn’t be absolved from that because that’s just the nature of the Premier League.

"There’s so much interest, so much scrutiny that they’re not gonna give you a pass and actually you’re going well compared to these guys, no we’re going to put you under the same heat we put those guys under, because they did. I remember Mikel was under a lot of heat for a long time, so was Jurgen at the beginning, so I shouldn’t be absolved from that.

"I think we’re in a decent space for progress, we’ve created a good foundation in our first year. Am I happy with the way we’re finishing? No, I’m not, but in terms of what we’re trying to build I firmly believe we’re on the right track."

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