Postecoglou tries to bring calm at Spurs after ‘worst experience’ as a manager

<span>Ange Postecoglou gestures towards his Tottenham players during the defeat to Manchester City.</span><span>Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images</span>
Ange Postecoglou gestures towards his Tottenham players during the defeat to Manchester City.Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou has described Tottenham’s defeat by Manchester City on Tuesday as “probably the worst experience I’ve had as a football manager” as he sought to smooth the waters of a stormy aftermath.

That City’s 2-0 win, which prevented Arsenal from going top, was pleasing to an audible section of Spurs fans had enraged Postecoglou. His post-match comments, pinpointing “fragile foundations” and problems “inside, outside and everywhere”, had drawn comparisons to the complaints of predecessors as Tottenham manager.

On Friday, while looking ahead to Tottenham’s trip to Sheffield United where a point would guarantee fifth place in the Premier League and a Europa League place, the Australian was conciliatory. “We’ve gotta hope we’re never in that situation again but if we are then we would approach it differently,” he said.

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“That is probably the worst experience I’ve had as a football manager in a game because once I realised that I got it wrong in terms of what the atmosphere was going to be like and what people felt, I got a real anxiety within me of what happens if Man City, who are the best team in the world, beat us 5-0.

“I got in cold sweats thinking about people questioning my integrity and the people I work with. Even watching the game back, there was a comment somebody mentioned to me in commentary saying: ‘Tottenham are having a real go here.’ You are laughing about it, but that is 26 years of my life. If nothing else people should know about me, I love this game. I’m very principled.”

Postecoglou also got involved in a touchline altercation with a fan. While expressing a modicum of regret, he remained largely unapologetic. “He wasn’t happy we just conceded a goal, so I turned around to find out what his problem was and he used language that he shouldn’t and he was abusive and if I hear that I don’t care who it is, I will deal with it.

“But he is more than welcome to come back next time and take his seat and express his opinions. If he swears, if he is abusive, he will cop the same treatment from me again.”

Asked if he had been able to iron out the team issues he complained about on Tuesday, Postecoglou said: “Not in two days, mate. I think as I said at the time we’ve got some work to do. That’s clear and evident.”

Rodrigo Bentancur’s dugout rage after being substituted was also sidestepped by his manager: “It wasn’t the biggest issue of the night for me, that’s for sure. He just wants to win.”