Tottenham Hotspur has decided to go in a different direction this summer. Tired of appointing big names like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte the COYS have got a relatively unknown name in Ange Postecoglou to fill in for the managerial position. The Australian manager joins from Celtic, where he enjoyed two successful seasons, winning the Scottish Premiership title and a domestic treble. Postecoglou’s attacking style of play and track record of player development has drawn praise, offering hope for a fresh start at Tottenham.
A desperate need for Culture Change
Spurs could never really find a footing in the Premier League with either Jose Mourinho or Antonio Conte. At the same time, Nuno Espírito Santo was never a good fit right from the first day.
Appointing managers with diverging philosophies meant that the North London club could never really have a solid identity. And besides winning games and trophies, what Spurs need the most at the moment is a manager that aligns with their identity.
Be it Harry Kane, Harry Winks, Kyle Walker, Gareth Bale or Luka Modric, Tottenham have been known for being a club that always gives young players a chance, a far cry from Conte’s expensive buying spree.
Postecoglou has an eye for young talented ballers and rightfully so as he has been at clubs with minimal transfer budgets. In that sense, he is a perfect fit at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Trophy galore at Celtic F.C.
Postecoglou has been instrumental in retaking the Scottish Premiership claimed by Rangers F.C. for a brief time. While doing so he demanded a relentlessly high work rate from his players. Celtic scored at least 21 more goals than any other Scottish Premiership team last season at a rate of 2.89 goals per game.
Under Ange Postecoglou’s management, Celtic experienced a significant surge in goal-scoring prowess. Prior to his arrival, the team had scored 78 goals. However, in his first title-winning season, the goal tally soared to 92, marking a noticeable increase. The upward trend continued into the following season, with Celtic netting a remarkable 114 goals in 2022-23. This impressive total was just two goals shy of Celtic’s all-time record of 116, established back in the 1915-16 season. Postecoglou’s impact on the team’s attacking play was evident as they nearly broke a 106-year-old record.
Celtic enjoyed the highest average possession (73%) of any team in Europe’s top 10 leagues in 2022-23. These numbers ensure that the 57-year-old won five trophies in his two seasons in Glasgow including two Premiership titles and a domestic treble.
With the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal in England, this might be a difficult feat to repeat but the new Spurs boss has a knack for demanding the highest standards from his personnel.
“Positive mentality and a fast, attacking style of play”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement: “Ange brings a positive mentality and a fast, attacking style of play.” This could not be more true as the Australian adopted a very aggressive playing style in Scotland. Playing a high-pressure game Celtic won possession 183 times in the final third, second highest in the league.
This attacking mentality does have its drawbacks. Celtic conceded 12 more goals in Ange’s second season at the club than in his first. The Scottish club was also one of the worst teams defensively in the Champions League last season.
Another stat point that has gone down for good is attempted dribbles. Celtic players attempted 109 fewer dribbles playing under Postecoglou than before his arrival at the club ensuring a cohesive and collective playing style.
Bad European Record
In his inaugural season, Celtic faced several challenges in European competitions. They encountered early elimination from the Champions League qualifiers, followed by a failure to progress beyond the group stage of the Europa League. Additionally, they suffered a defeat in the Europa Conference League knockout playoffs against Bodø/Glimt.
The subsequent season showed some improvement as Celtic managed to reach the group stages. Although they displayed promising performances, the results were not favorable, with the team securing only two points from six matches.
Their offensive output was limited, scoring just four goals while conceding a significant 15. Overall, Celtic faced disappointment and setbacks in their European campaigns during these two seasons, struggling to achieve significant success on the continental stage.
With Tottenham being at least a year away from returning to European football Postecoglou will have enough time to reflect on his mistakes.
Challenges in initial games
Postecoglou is known for his strict and unchanging tactics. Be it Real Madrid or Dundee United his tactics and even his lineup remains unchanged.
This approach might help explain Celtic’s difficult start under the Australian. They managed to win only three of their first seven league games, suffering defeats against Hearts and Livingston. Additionally, they were eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers by FC Midtjylland over two legs. It is worth noting that Postecoglou had experienced similar slow starts in his previous managerial roles at Brisbane Roar and Yokohama F. Marinos.
Fortunately for Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur, their upcoming opponents, have a relatively easy schedule at the start of the Premier League season. Spurs’ opening five games include two of the promoted teams in Burnley (A) and Sheffield United (H), as well as a trip to the Vitality Stadium to play Bournemouth who narrowly dodged relegation.
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Tottenham have been long subjected to the defensive approach of Conte and Mourinho, which neither delivered trophies nor entertained. But with Postecoglou at the helm, they will have a goal fest of a treat waiting for them as the Australian has made it his business to not only win games but subject his opponents to total dominance.
The COYS have to be mature and wise enough to know that hiring a domestic treble-winning manager does not ensure trophies in the very next season. But they do not have to necessarily wait for the smaller wins as their new manager brings with him an entertaining and goal-scoring aggressive game with him similar to a certain Mauricio Pochettino.
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