Ange Postecoglou says his most pressing issue at Tottenham is to instil a more attacking mentality in the players. The new manager is committed to playing on the front foot rather than sitting back and punching on the counter.
Postecoglou, who favours 4-3-3, wants to dominate the ball and it will be a change of approach compared with that of his predecessors Antonio Conte, Nuno Espírito Santo and José Mourinho. It will also be more in line with the kind of football Spurs fans like to see from their team.
Postecoglou was asked whether he would have to reprogramme the players. “That will be the biggest challenge and that’s what I’m concentrating on,” he said. It’s about changing that mindset and changing the way the players see the game, and maybe their roles within it.
“Even with the positions they play, there’s going be adjustments in how I want them to do things. It will be a shift from the way the club has played for three or four years.”
Postecoglou noted that his signings would be a part of the process, mentioning the midfielder James Maddison and the goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. There is uncertainty over whether the longstanding No 1, Hugo Lloris, will remain at the club. The 36-year-old has said “it’s the end of an era” for him at Spurs and he has “desires for other things”.
Postecoglou said: “In terms of how quickly the players embrace it, the new players coming in will help. That’s the part I have control over – whether that’s James or Guglielmo in goal. They’re players who fit in the direction I want to go in. Then it’s about seeing with the existing group how many of them are able to adjust and embrace the way we’re going to play.”
Maddison, signed from Leicester for £40m, will be charged with taking some of the creative and goalscoring load off the front three – especially Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Maddison had 10 goals and nine assists in the Premier League last season in a relegated Leicester team. He, like Kane, will report for pre-season on Wednesday.
“Any manager will tell you that part of the key to being a dominant team is having multiple attacking threats and having a midfielder who can score and create goals – they’re not easy to come by,” Postecoglou said. “James has proven himself as somebody who can do that. When you look at Tottenham over the last few years, they’ve been really reliant on the front three to get their goals. I thought it was a really good fit for us to look for a player like James.
“He’s had the birth of twins so I don’t know what shape he’ll be in when he gets here. But once we get him in, it means he can come on tour with us. He’s in a stage of his career where it feels like he can be a leader, which is great because we need players who want to embrace that responsibility.”
Postecoglou discussed the culture he wants to put in place. Kane is on record as saying that certain values have been lost in recent years and Postecoglou said the starting point had to be positivity in every individual. “My basis for culture and behaviour is that we’re all very fortunate to do what we do.
“There isn’t a person who comes through these gates who shouldn’t come through with a smile on their faces, particularly the footballers. If you have an appreciation and respect of your environment and the people there, it gives you a good chance to create something.
“Sometimes people need direction with that. If there’s no clear direction and clarity around what that is supposed to look like people can go off and do their own thing. I have been and I will be pretty clear on my expectations around what we need to be like. I don’t think that’s too far from the kind of things that Harry was talking about.”
Spurs have confirmed the free-agent capture of the Israel winger Manor Solomon. The 23-year-old was contracted to Shakhtar Donetsk until the end of December 2023 but he has been allowed – under a Fifa rule – to walk away from the deal. The governing body introduced the measure for all Ukraine-based players after the invasion of their country by Russia.
Spurs will pay compensation to Shakhtar but it is understood that the bulk of it will be provided by Fifa. Solomon, who scored five goals in 24 appearances on loan at Fulham last season, has signed a five-year contract.