Postecoglou makes it clear what Tottenham need in transfer windows to challenge Manchester City

Ange Postecoglou has made it clear that you don't hang photos of bragging rights on the wall if you're a successful club as Tottenham prepare to take on Manchester City in a Premier League game that will have a big impact on Arsenal.

Spurs welcome Pep Guardiola's side to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday evening. A City win would take the visitors one step closer to lifting the Premier League trophy for a fourth year in a row and a Spurs victory would instead hand the advantage to their local rivals Arsenal on the final day.

Two wins for Tottenham in their remaining games and Aston Villa losing their final game at Crystal Palace would see Postecoglou's men finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League, but a large section of Spurs fans would be happy for their team to lose this match in order to prevent their local rivals from winning the title. Postecoglou says he is aiming for bigger prizes than simply making Arsenal supporters miserable.

"I suppose in these last 16 years [since Spurs last won a trophy], there have been years where Tottenham have had bragging rights. Walk through the halls, mate, there’s no bragging rights there. There’s none. The pictures on the wall do not show players with a big sign saying ‘we’ve got bragging rights’," said the Australian.

"They’ve just got pictures of Bill Nicholson and people who have actually achieved. That’s where I want to get us. The funny thing is if you win trophies, you tend to have bragging rights as well. I just want to make sure we stay clearly disciplined and focused. It would be easy for me to say that getting one over your rivals is most important.

"You could do that and not win anything and I would feel great about myself and maybe the fans feel good about me, but we can’t be successful if that’s our goal. Success to me is winning trophies and until we do that, we have just got to make sure we stay laser-focused on what we want to achieve."

READ MORE: Every word Ange Postecoglou said on Manchester City, Arsenal and not wanting to lose any match

READ MORE: What Micky van de Ven told James Maddison just before he scored and why Vicario jumped on Romero

Postecoglou is anticipating another exciting match between Tottenham and one of the Premier League's big sides.

"If you look at the top three and our games against them, they’ve all been crackers and we've ended up on the winning side only once but we’ve taken it to them," he said. "Arsenal away, City away, Liverpool away we got blown away in the first hour of the game but we still hung in there at the end and made it exciting.

"Even in the Arsenal game, we were pressing towards the end so I think the attitude we’ve taken into those games, to not shy away from the challenge, it’s easier to go in there and try to keep things tight, try to get a draw and even win 1-0, I don’t think that shows where you’re at. I think what shows where you’re at is when you go out there and try to meet them by playing your own football and obviously we haven’t conquered that part of it yet. But if we keep improving then we’ve got a shot at knocking them off at some point."

The target for the 58-year-old is to make Spurs a challenger next season, to be involved in the title talk directly rather than playing a role as party poopers. So how quickly can the north London club cross the divide from fifth place to the top spot?

"It’s hard to say, we’re talking 20-odd points. It’s a fair chunk, not just three positions in the table. You’re looking at the points tally and there’s a significant gap, and not just for us but that’s us at the beginning of the process. That’s us at the base camp in terms of creating a foundation," explained Postecoglou.

"I think if you put time frames on it you’re either putting too much pressure on yourself to achieve something that’s difficult or you’re limiting yourself if you say it’s five years down the line when why should it be five years down the line. Why can’t it be next year? It’s not about bridging the gap, it’s about improving in yourself. If we can be a better team next year than this year logically you’d say we’ll get closer. How much closer depends on how much better we are. Putting time frames on it is not going to help us."

Postecoglou made it clear that the transfer windows at Tottenham will be key to producing a squad that has two top players in each position as City can boast.

"I think you have to [have that]. If you look at the top teams, that’s part of the process. We haven’t had any European football this year, so if you’ve got European football as well it’s impossible to try to maintain a level of performance in the Premier League and play in multiple competitions unless you have a strong squad," he said.

"That’s probably the biggest challenge because that can’t be done in one, two or three windows, unless you’ve already got a real strong base to start with. It takes time, players evolve, some move out, because by the time you hit the sweet spot where you’re ready for success, even some of the ones who are key now may not be there.

"It’s a constant reinforcement of your squad and trying to fill those gaps in. We’ve had two windows to start the process. It’s going to take us multiple windows to get to that point. If we get our windows right and I think we’ve been really good so far… I think the business we’ve done so far has been excellent, but we’re going to have to be that good all the time pretty much if we’re going to bridge that gap."

Using Josko Gvardiol as an example, with the Croatian now revelling in the Premier League and scoring goals from defence, Postecoglou explained the difference between the two clubs and how they can bed in new signings.

"If you are starting with fantastic footballers, it’s a pretty good place to start," he said. "I’ve always felt that if you get the right kind of player with the right kind of mentality… everyone sees it a different light, it’s like a work of art, mate, we all have our different opinions of why it’s good or why it’s not good.

"He’s been outstanding, but you could see he was an outstanding footballer both for his national team and in his club football. The beauty of being where City are at the moment, you don’t have to force those things. They can happen organically. He wasn’t thrown in and told you’re going to play this way. You’ve seen him evolve and they can do that because they’ve got the squad.

"Whereas, for teams like us that are just beginning the process, we’re going ‘Guys get out there and sink or swim’, almost. Whether that’s Van de Ven or Destiny, Porro or Pape or Brennan Johnson, we can’t blood these guys over half a season and allow them to get to grips with our game and the Premier League. That’s where it becomes a bit more challenging. When you’ve got a solid squad, you can bring guys in and allow them to find their space a little bit more organically."

One of Tottenham's signings under Postecoglou, James Maddison, has had a mixed season. The England international began the campaign in fantastic form before an ankle injury kept him out for two-and-a-half months. The midfielder has struggled to regain his form since, although he looked more like his old self in Saturday's win against Burnley.

"Madders has had one of those seasons like a lot of our guys. When they’re at their best, you can see how impactful they can be on a game of football," said the Spurs head coach. "I thought at the weekend especially he was right back at it - he was really creative, he was working harder and he looked fitter. There were a couple of runs that he made when they couldn’t keep up with him and that was him earlier in the year.

"It’s taken him a while to get back physically more than anything else to that level. It’s a big thing for footballers - we tend to focus on their technical ability and especially for guys like Madders they think that’s the most important part of the game. But if you’re not physically right - especially in the Premier League - you just won’t get away with it and it’s then taken him so much time to get back to that level because he has missed so much football. I think it’s fair to say he lost some confidence as well.

"But it’s fair to say that he was back to the levels we saw earlier in the year and when he's at those levels he can hurt any team with his creativity and his ability to score and create goals. He’ll be very important to us tomorrow night."

There is also the Euros on the horizon this summer and Maddison looking to grab a spot on the plane with Gareth Southgate's England squad.

"I’m sure it is [an incentive] but you can’t just turn it in because you think something is important," said Postecoglou "You have to do it all of the time and all these other things take care of themselves. You can’t just say ‘I’m going to try really hard because I want to get into the England team for the Euros'.

"You have to do the day to day stuff right. In fairness to Madders, he’s been a lot stronger recently because he has been able to get out there every day and I think we saw the benefits of that on the weekend."

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