Every word Postecoglou said on how Udogie got injured, Pedro Porro, Mikey Moore and Arsenal

What's the latest team news?

Yeah, from the last game, a disappointing one for Destiny and for ourselves as well, because he’s been a big part of our year. It was just an unfortunate incident in training. He’s had the operation, it’s gone well - so hopefully it gives him time to have pre-season and get back into it. So we’ll miss him. Skippy picked up a small knock as well in training so he’ll be out for this weekend. So they’re the outs apart from the long-term ones. Pedro and Richy both trained all week so they’ll both be available.

Have there been any positives from the two-week gap or did you just want a game straight away?

You prefer games, absolutely - especially at this time of the year. It’s unusual to have two weeks of no games at all, particularly when there's a fair bit of football happening and you’re not involved. We’ve tried to use that time as well as possible. We’ve trained hard, and the players have embraced that. But definitely looking forward to having a game, that’s for sure.

There's three huge games coming up, will you know more about your squad after those three games?

Look, every time you're out there is a chance to measure yourself. I have a fair idea of where we’re at, and what progress we’ve made and what progress we need to make. But it’s another great challenge for us - three big games and then we finish the season with three games. And they're all games of consequence - for us and for the opposition. And the players are looking forward to that as well - this time of the year you want to be playing for something. And certainly the games we’re involved in will have something in them, so yeah looking forward to it.

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Do you understand some fans wanting to deny Arsenal winning the league first and foremost?

Yeah, it’s fair enough. And again I’m not going to dictate to fans what they feel and how they should feel. We understand the importance of the game and we understand the importance particularly at home in these kind of games against our biggest rival and in the biggest derby for us not letting our opponent get on top of us. So we understand the consequences of that but ultimately it’s still about us measuring ourselves against the teams we want to be challenging on a more consistent basis. And it’s a great opportunity to do that on Sunday.

What’s the biggest difference you want to see between the Newcastle game and Sunday?

I don’t think one’s a reference point for the other. The Newcastle game was really disappointing for us on a number of levels. Obviously the result was poor, but the result didn’t anywhere near reach the levels we wanted to. But we’ve learned a hell of a lot from it. The players have learned a lot out of it, but irrespective of that it doesn't matter what you’ve done the previous game.

When you’re playing such a big game - a derby - especially at this time of year when like I said there’s great meaning to the points for both clubs then what's happened previously, whether that's the immediate past or further back, becomes irrelevant. Because you know it's going to be a tough game, have a bit of an edge to it, have an atmosphere. And you've just got to make sure you get ready to match those levels with a performance.

Is it your biggest game as Spurs manager?

Look, every game is important, I take every game seriously and every game is a big game. That's the one thing we're trying to impress on this group of players. That's the nature of the Premier League, it's relentless. If you're not 100% focussed on each different challenge, you're going to come up short. I always feel the next game is the biggest game. But I understand the context around the north London Derby and what it means to our supporters for sure.

How impressed have you been by Arteta's leading of the project and the support he has been given?

I think I've said before, it's not a coincidence that the teams who have been up there the last two or three years are teams that have had a clear plan of what they wanted to do and stuck by it. Arsenal's a great example of that. Mikel's done an outstanding job, it's been recognised by the club and they feel he's the man to lead them forward and they've supported him ever since then. There's a blueprint there, for sure, for every club.

But it's not as simple as saying, 'We'll just stick to the same process.' Every club is unique, every club's different in terms of how they rebuild. But it's a credit to Arsenal, and Mikel more than anybody that they've been really disciplined about building a side they feel can bring sustained success and they've been challenging for the last two to three to do that.

How did Destiny get the injury, was it non-contact?

It was non-contact. He just went to have a strike at goal by himself and got the injury.

Perisic and Manor Solomon were also no contact injuries in training, does that show how unlucky you've been?

Yeah, I've been around long enough to know sometimes these things happen in football. For all you try to create the best possible environment for players but even within that there's a possibility these things will happen. So look unfortunate for him because he had the Euros as well and he'd had a really promising season for us, he learnt a lot, he was progressing. But this is just part of a footballer's journey. He's going to have to deal with this. Every footballer at some point has a setback. If there's one silver lining, it happened just before the off-season where he's not going to miss a chunk of the season if everything goes well and he's really close to the start of next season.

Dejan Kulusevski became a dad this week. How is he coping with the sleepless nights while training?

Yeah, it's great for Deki, I know he's very happy about being a dad. As I keep saying to the guys, it's a life-changer. Somebody in your family unit becomes more important than yourself and sometimes for footballers that's a bit confronting! But I'm sure Deki will handle it well and his partner. Bless them and their child.

Mikey Moore has been training with you in recent weeks, how important has that experience been for a 16-year-old to work with the likes of Sonny and James Maddison?

Yeah, absolutely. We've done that all year. We've had guys at different times from our academy and the Under-21s training with us for extended periods rather than just bringing them up for a day or two. Mikey has been really good. Look he's a very talented boy and for him, he's had a fairly disrupted season, he's had a couple of injuries, but when he's performed, he's performed really well. The reports I've had on him have always been outstanding. It's been good to have him. Obviously we've had a couple of weeks without a game and it's been good to get him involved in the first team. Again, to be fair to him he has adapted really well, he hasn't looked out of place and it's great for him. Hopefully it gives encouragement to him and some of the other guys who are coming through.

Just to check, the expectation is that Destiny will miss the Euros?

Yeah, yeah.

With this block of games with the three big ones, how much do you as a manager view them as a block or do you just think about Sunday?

I think they are six big ones for us. When you look at our opponents, they've all got something on them in terms of they are all playing for something. So you understand that they're going to be six really tough games, a great measure for us, but to kind of look beyond whatever your next challenge is....that's the nature of the Premier League and that’s what we've been trying to impress on the guys, especially the guys who are in their first year in the Premier League or just getting their career started that every week is a challenge. There isn’t a game when you can’t be anything other than totally focused on that opponent. If you don't have that complete focus then you'll pay a price.

I think we've done that a few times this year when we haven't been as focused around certain games and we've been found wanting and short. So definitely six big games but not looking past the one on Sunday.

Is it useful because next year you'll be in this routine of lots of games and big games?

It’s not an exact replica, but for us it's a good chance to measure ourselves. For me it’s about understanding at the end of the season with everything we’ve had to deal with, how we've handled it, good, bad or otherwise and what we’ve learned from it. Hopefully create a foundation where next season we'll be in a place to be in a different position at the end of the season.

How much do you tell the players to lean into the atmosphere of a game like this or do you want them to focus?

Yeah I think you have to. You have to if you're at a big club and your ambition is to challenge for honours, you have to be prepared to embrace the big games and lean into them. That's the reality of it. You can't ignore it or put it in a space where it's not going to affect you, because it will if you don't embrace it. We want to be a club that is challenging for honours year in, year out and big games are consequences of that. You want to embrace it.

You've got years of experience, what have they told you about these final months of the season when there's plenty to play for, what's the key?

It's just about making sure you embrace the challenge and try to tackle it in the way that got us into this position in the first place. From our perspective we've had some inconsistencies and challenges this year but when we've played well we've played a certain way and gone about things in a certain way. There's no point now when you get to the most important year to shy away from that or change your approach. You've got to double down on it and focus on playing our football. That’s a great measure for us because otherwise you'll never know where you're short or whether you can be successful in doing it our way.

Harry Kewell led Yokohama to Asian Champions League final, what did you make of that?

Yeah, it's great for H and great for the club to be in the Champions League final. I don't think they had been in one for quite a while so delighted for everyone there, the players, the staff. Like I said delighted for Harry. I am sure he is loving the experience of working in Japan with that group of players. Asian Champions League final is a big game and I hope they do well.

The team has been inconsistent of late, what is that down to?

There are a lot of reasons for it but it's just part of where we are as a team at the moment and as a group. I would be very surprised if anyone expected us to have 38 games unblemished in our first year of building a team. I expected us to be inconsistent, it might have come at the start of the year, but you just don't know. We obviously got off to a great start for the first 10 games and it was quite simple to see what happened after that. We had some fairly significant injuries to key players. We kind of battle our way through for a lot of that period and stayed competitive. The last couple of months we've been inconsistent where we've been really good or been off it, but again that is part of the process of where we are at as a group and as a team. Having said that the players are still very, very competitive in every game and we wouldn't be in position we were or are if it wasn't the case.

Son has a great record against Arsenal, how important has he been in these big games?

Yeah look vital because he has got the experience and at least two or three of our guys this will be their first experience of a home north London derby. You always lean on the guys who have been there, done that and excelled it that. Sonny has definitely done that. He has been a big-game player for this football club for a long time and he's looking forward to it with the added responsibility this time as the captain. He's been outstanding for us all year and I know he is looking forward to the game. To be fair the whole playing group is looking forward to the game. They're looking forward to any game at the moment because we've just been training for two weeks. Looking forward to seeing how it goes on Sunday.

Would you have taken this, to lose Harry Kane before the first day but to be fifth in table with month to go?

No. I would be disappointed, mate.

Do you think you should be higher?

No. You said to me what would I have taken at the start of the year. You didn't ask me whether I think we should be higher. I don't start any year thinking we're going to finish fifth. What I am saying is, at start of year I wouldn't have settled for fifth, I would have tried to win it all. Where we are is fair reflection of our season. I think we've been pretty good, but we have been inconsistent. We've had some challenges with injuries and suspensions at different times, which are all indicative of a group learning how to be a real strong competitor in this league. I don't think anyone would say we're in false position. We've earnt where we are both from a good and sort of not-good perspective.

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