Ange Postecoglou does not believe Tottenham are a 'Champions League club' under him yet

Ange Postecoglou does not believe Tottenham are a 'Champions League club' under him yet

Ange Postecoglou says he has not given up on a top-four finish with Tottenham but believes they are not yet "a Champions League club".

Spurs trail fourth-placed Aston Villa by seven points and have a worse goal difference, meaning they will likely have to win their remaining three games against Burnley, Manchester City and Sheffield United and hope Villa lose to both Liverpool and Crystal Palace to overhaul Unai Emery's side.

Postecoglou has previously played down the importance of a top-four finish, saying it would not be a "Wolly Wonka golden ticket" to progress, but ahead of the final week of the season he insisted it would be "self-defeating" not to target as high a finish as possible.

Asked if he had given up on a top-four place, Postecoglou said: "That’s a harsh term, 'give up'. What does that mean?

"I come in here at 12 o’clock have a latte, go home and just let the guys train? I don’t give up on anything. I’m here fighting tooth and nail every single day for everything I can get for this football club because that’s my responsibility. I would not give up on any cause, even the most lost of causes because then I’d be abstaining from my responsibilities. I want us to finish the season strong. I want us to try and win three games of football and see where that takes us.

"I never said I didn’t care about finishing top four. What I said was finishing top-four does not mean we’re going to be the team I want us to be next year.

"That’s not what will define us. I don’t give up and I’d be surprised if anyone in my position at this level will go in with anything other than 100 per cent commitment to fight for everything because if you don’t invariably you fail."

It was put to Postecoglou that Spurs might be better off by finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League, which is a far more winnable competition.

"I get that, but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to finish as high as possible and get into the best possible competition but that was my point," he said.

"Finishing fourth and getting into the Champions League does not make you a Champions League club, in my opinion. It just gives you an opportunity to be in there. To me, to be a Champions League club and to be at that level requires more than finishing fourth in one year.

"Do I believe right now we’re a Champions League club? No we’re not. That’s my belief. We’ve still got work to do. that doesn’t mean I don’t want us to reach Champions League. That’s self-defeating in terms of what I’m trying to create. Should we finish fourth and make Champions League, it isn’t going to change my view of where we’re at and what we need to do in the summer. That’s still real clear in my head."

Spurs are aiming to halt a run of four straight defeats in Saturday's visit of Burnley and the losing streak has increased scrutiny on Postecoglou's approach.

The Australian believes supporters have a right to question his style of play but says he pays no heed to the criticism, and loves the pressure of competing in the Premier League.

Asked if he felt the criticism in recent weeks had been harsh, Postecoglou said: "No, it is what it is. It doesn't change my approach.

Ange Postecoglou believes Tottenham need a rebuild, regardless of whether they reach the Champions League or not (AP)
Ange Postecoglou believes Tottenham need a rebuild, regardless of whether they reach the Champions League or not (AP)

"Supporters have a right to have a say. And if they feel I have somehow fallen short, then they are allowed to say it.

"But I'm also allowed not to pay any attention to it. Not that I don't respect it, I just don't think it is relevant to me.

"Even when people were saying good things about me I wasn't paying attention then either.

"Japan was four years of bliss for me - I couldn't understand the language and couldn't read the papers, it was a beautiful existence.

"Yeah [the scrutiny is intense] but I love that mate," he added.

"You have got to understand where I come from -- I craved this. When I was in Australia, irrespective of what I achieved there it was barely going to raise a ripple. All I wanted was attention -- the right sort of attention where everything I did was scrutinised."

Postecoglou last week outlined plans to rip up his squad in the summer and admitted that some "good players" would have to leave the club for the sake of change.

But he emphatically dismissed the prospect of captain Heung-min Son being among them when a reporter told Postecoglou he assumed the Korean would stay.

“Jeez, that’s a huge leap for you, mate!" Postecoglou replied. "What a bold prediction to make that Sonny is going to be part of our future! Yeah he’s going to be part of our future."