Every word Ange Postecoglou said on set pieces, Spurs injury news, Chelsea and moving to Sweden

Are you seeing signs of progress? Even after Sunday are you seeing enough to say you’re on the right path?

Absolutely yeah, absolutely. Clearly, clearly. As clear as you want it to be. 20-20. Definitely. 100%.

What gives you such optimism?

Because of what I see. Playing our football, measuring ourselves against the best. The players have a real belief in what we’re doing. That’s all I need to see.

You mentioned wanting some of the players to be more like Cuti Romero. I assume that’s about their desire, does that suggest you don't have enough of those characters in the squad?

Well we’ve only got one World Cup winner in the building so it takes a bit of time. And it’s not about hunger or fight, it’s just about a self-belief that Cuti has because of who he is and his journey up until now. The others, or a lot of the others, are just beginning that. But Cuti’s had his painful moments in his career but he’s learned to get through them and he showed the way forward on Sunday.

So that’s all I meant. Some of it is just growth of individuals as people. Which again you can’t fast-track. I thought Cuti - he’s been great for us all year - but on Sunday I thought he really lead by example.

Sweden have rejected VAR - you’ve always been very clear on your thoughts on VAR?

Yeah, I’m moving there.

You’re taking a job at Helsingborgs?

I don’t have a job, I’m just moving there.

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Do you think the ship has sailed here with VAR? Do you think it’s too late to get rid of it? If it does stay what specifically has to change?

Yeah, it’s here to stay - absolutely. It’s not going away. I’d change a hell of a lot on it but again I’ve said before that I think it’s changed the game materially, which I don’t think was the intention when it was brought in. And look I watched the Champions League last night like everyone else did and if you’d told me VAR wasn’t part of it, I wouldn’t have known. And I’m sure they had decisions to make but it just seemed to run pretty seamlessly. Like I said we’re trying to pick the bones out of every little thing that happens in a football game at the moment - whether that’s the referee or any other part. I don’t like it - it changes the game, the game experience whether you’re involved or not as an active spectator. But hopefully they’ll find the right sort of ground for it to work.

There does seem to be some recognition from PGMOL that there needs to be some changes - if they got you in a room and asked for your opinions…

They already do that, mate. But I’ve said before, we’re not the people they need to consult with. We’re not officials, they’re officials. It’s about them finding out what’s the best decision-making process that's not going to affect the game. It’s got nothing to do with managers. I manage a football team - I can tell them how to set up a team. You’re always at odds in those kind of meetings anyway because the referees always feel like they’ve done the right thing, and we always feel aggrieved. So that’s the basic case. People telling me we’re going to get an explanation - what difference does that make?

I thought we should have had a penalty on the weekend, other people didn’t think we should have had a penalty on the weekend. I wasn’t sure about Micky van de Ven’s offside but other people say it is offside. At the end of the day, who am I to sit in a room and tell officials how to do their job? They should know that - that is their job. As I keep saying, I wouldn’t want to be asking referees to advise coaches on how to manage a team.

What's the latest team news, how's Timo Werner doing?

Yeah, not good. Unfortunately we've had a couple of issues from the game. Timo with his hamstring obviously so we've got two-and-a-half weeks to go so he'll miss the rest of the season. Ben Davies has got a calf injury and he's out of the game and he'll probably miss the rest of the season as well. Everyone else is ok. Skippy should be back for this game, out of the ones who have been out.

Is Richarlison fit enough to start at Stamford Bridge?

Yeah, he's working back to fitness. He's missed a fair bit so it was good to get him some game time. So whether that's tomorrow night or Sunday, obviously we've got three games this week, three big games, and I'm sure Richy will play a significant part in it.

How do you feel your team has developed since that last game against Chelsea and how much have they developed?

For us it’s a constant evolution of overcoming different challenges we've had since then. It's fair to say that up until that point we were in good shape from a squad point of view. We had a good rhythm in terms of games. Since then we've had some disruptions in many areas and had to overcome those challenges, some well, some not so well. For the most part we've been fairly consistent.

Chelsea, their recent form has been very good. They've got some real talent and Mauricio is an excellent manager, so I think irrespective of all of that, you're playing away from home, at their ground, it's a London derby, so you know it's going to be a tough game.

Do you sense from your players that there is a desire to get revenge for the first game?

I don't think so. I've never bought into that because that would mean you need some other form of stimulation that just trying to win a game of football. That's what you've got to do. You understand the meaning of games, particularly to a club or our supporters, but I've always felt that as managers or footballers, you shouldn’t need extra motivation other than there's a game on and you should want to win it.

James Maddison was so good for you early in the season, does he still need to find his form again?

Yeah, look it's a challenge. I think just about every player in the squad I've had that question about and I've been pretty consistent in my answers that we’ve had a very disruptive season. He’s another one that's had disruptions. First 10 games, he played every game and he was going really well. Then he picked up an injury, missed a lot of football and he's come back but we've had challenges as a team where we haven’t had any real fluency in terms of cohesion, games and starting line-ups. He's had to battle through that like a lot of them.

That's part of the challenge. For us, the fact that things have not gone smoothly this year means you feel a bit of pain but in the long term you create a stronger and more resilient group and Madders is one of those guys. He's just got to fight his way out of it.

You've mentioned that you've 100% seen progress, is that based on that you're likely to finish in a European place?

No, it's because of what I'm seeing every day and the football we're playing and the development of our games and their belief in what we're trying to do. That's far more important to me than what position we are.

Set pieces were the undoing of your team on Sunday, is that becoming a worry over the past few weeks or season and something you'll be looking to address in the summer transfer window?

I think I've answered this question and I don't think it satisfies people, but no I don't see it as an issue. It's something that we work on along with everything in our game. There are far more important things that we need to concentrate on at the moment in terms of the team we're building. I think people want to be believe, and it can be, that football is very prescriptive. You've got an illness, here's the tablet and you feel better. I've never believed that. I've always been about trying to create an environment and a style of football that can win things. I've never worked in a prescriptive manner and I certainly won't be doing it now.

That kind of answers my next question...

That's good, then you don't have to ask it.

I'm afraid I do, are you concern about the first half displays?

Again, to be fair I’ve had the whole gambit. If I was playing bingo, I’d have called it a few weeks ago. We’ve conceded early, scored early, conceded late, scored late, had great starts, poor starts, set pieces good, set pieces bad, some good football. It is part of where we’re at. But within that, I make it sound as if it has been a real struggle. I don’t think it has been a real struggle. I’m still seeing real belief in this group. Even on Sunday, 3-0 down at half-time, the game could have gone very easily a different way but it didn’t. I love the spirit this group shows in the face of adversity and all the things that people see as issues for us right now are not at the top of my list. At the top of my list is creating an environment for a football team and a style of football that will win us things. We’re on the way to doing that.

You've got no natural left-backs fit now, Mick van de Ven has played there in the past, is there a temptation to play him in that role or do you worry about losing his pace from the centre?

No and it is not the first time this year we’ve been challenged in that way. We’ve lost wingers more than one at once, central defenders more than one at once. It is just the way it goes, strikers too. We’ll deal with it. It is unfortunate for Benny. It is understandable because it is not just not having a game for two weeks, he hasn’t played to start a game for ages because we just haven’t had the fixtures where we can rotate the squad to keep everyone in good shape. Again, we’ve thrown him in after not playing for quite a while. It is almost inevitable that he will pick up an injury. Disappointing for him because he was looking to finally getting his opportunity over the next course of games but it doesn’t work out. We’ll find a solution for that position as we have before.

With Timo Werner, that's his loan spell done in essence, how do you judge his impact and what are your thoughts on signing him permanently?

Yeah that’s stuff for another day. I’ve got a game tomorrow and that’s where my focus is.

What about judging his time?

Again, I’m not making assessments on anybody right now because I’ve got 24 hours to prepare for an important game and I am focused on what’s important right now.

With Cristian Romero, have you been impressed with his discipline since that red card against Chelsea?

Upon reflection, when you look at that challenge he got sent off for, I’ve seen at least half a dozen since then so they’ve obviously changed it slightly. He paid the price for maybe being who he is on that day. But anyway. I haven’t had an issue with his discipline all year. That game, we started really well, we were flying and it was unfortunate moment, Cuti paid the price for that but I haven’t had an issue with him since he’s been here. If historically he was different, it wasn’t under my watch. He’s been outstanding for us this year. I knew he was a fantastic player but working with him every day, seeing how competitive he is, how much he wants to win everything he does and then his qualities as a footballer, I think he’s a brilliant centre-back but also an upstanding person and I’m really happy to have him.

With Romero popping up in different positions – how much of that is him doing it or you telling him?

It is not about telling him to go where you want but it is not unusual for us. We’ve kind of set up a system where the full-backs, centre-backs, midfielders, wingers, if you are in the flow of play and you feel like you can make an impact then the structure is there to support that. It is not the first time he’s done it. He did it against Chelsea when we played them. He’s done it quite a few times this year,. It is just about the moments. He is one who has got that self-belief to not second-guess those kind of moments whereas others are still in that phase of not being sure whether they should take the initiative but again, that’s just growth for some of them. Cuti, he wants to impact games of football and we try to set up a structure where all of them can do that.

James Maddison had hit such heights, do you seek out a player if they're not hitting them?

No, as I said I am about building an environment here that hopefully allows players and everyone involved to come here every day and push themselves to be the best they can be. The reality of it is is there is no magic words or magic solution to any problem or challenges you have. I've always felt you work hard, be the best you can be, try and get the support you need and perform. So, unless there is an issue there or someone needs to step out... I always look at how they're training and if there training is where it should be, there is no issue with me.

When you said you want what Romero has in others, is that one of the things with players saying 'I am going to take up this position if I see it', that shows self belief?

Yeah that is what I am saying. That is what I am talking about but you can't teach that. It is experience and growth as people as much as footballers. You can't expect or rarely can you expect that a player in his first year in the Premier League, or has just joined or we've changed the way we've played to be fully embraced but there has been moments this year where all of them have done it I think. But Cristian is further advanced obviously. I mean he has got five goals this year and he hit the post from a set-piece at the weekend as well so could have had a couple of goals on the day. He has been one that has been a real catalyst for me, because when you have a few in a group, we've got two or three, who have embraced it but also the self belief to really super charge then it drags everyone else and I am sure will get impact from the rest of the guys from that.

How does Vicario feel about the set-pieces, is he frustrated or sees it more as team issue, not his issue?

No, I think he has seen it as a challenge and again it is something even I am struggling with. I watched the Champions League last night and there was a couple of times they went in on the keeper and it was a foul straight away. I don't know. It is a weird one for me. We've tried to get clarity on it and I don't think there is clarity on it. It is just a challenge for him to overcome and he's determined to do it. And I know he will because I know his mentality of not looking for excuses, but finding solutions through that. He will do that.

With midfield, you've previously had a lot of options, now feels a problem area, is that an area in the summer where you will need to bring new midfielders in?

No, I mean in terms of the summer I have said maybe three months ago we already know what we need to do so nothing has changed in terms of that. Again, in terms of the midfield it is just really difficult because we don't have a series of games and we haven't been able to give guys game time on a regular basis to get them all to a level. They have all been stop-start appearances so we haven't had a lot of fluency in there, but at the same time all of them have contributed in different ways. We have had rely on all of them because we've had issues and absences in that area, but we haven't had the cohesion, apart from early in the season when we were very settled, that we need in that area. That has probably been across the board but I think at different stages they've all contributed.

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