The Tottenham Hotspur head coach has opened up in his book about the exact moment when he knows a team has taken to his style
Ange Postecoglou has explained the exact moment when he knew his former team had accepted his style and it is something for Tottenham supporters to look out for.
The 57-year-old Australian brings with him a relentless version of attacking football with constant movement and pressing high up the pitch. He also encourages his players to take risks and in the early months at each of his clubs the results have been rocky before the team suddenly understands what he is asking of them and everything clicks together.Postecoglou explained in his book ‘Changing the Game’ that sometimes that moment arrives during a heavy defeat as it did for his Brisbane Roar side against the A-League’s biggest club Melbourne Victory, who he would later coach, on their own turf.
“The moment came while Victory were putting us under a lot of pressure, which was to be expected,” he wrote. “We had a transition move out of our defence and the ball found its way to Luke DeVere, our young central defender. Luke received the ball and did what he was programmed to do, keep the ball and play it out from the back without reverting to just hoofing it upfield.”He coughed up possession and Victory scored and then, you wouldn’t read about it, but five minutes or so later, the same exact thing happened again. Two-nil. You could hear the thoughts of the doubters approach their crescendo: ‘There’s a time to play and there’s a time for row Z’. God, how many times have I heard that?
“But it was in that moment, when the second ‘error’ was made, that I knew I had this team. Far from me scrambling to rearrange, redeploy, reset our game plan, I breathed a sigh of relief that the message and its meaning were now embedded. Think about the courage it takes for Luke to try playing out from the back again, the same thing for which he and his team had been ‘punished’ only moments earlier, and to do it in those surroundings.
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“You make that error the first time and then the ball comes to you the second time, not long after, and your instinct is not to clear the ball, relieving ‘pressure’, but to keep the ball. I knew at that point the whole thing had crystallised. Call it a turning point, even vindication. These guys believed in what we were doing.”He added: “There was no way I was going back after that. This young kid had put his nuts on the line because I’d asked him to, because I’d sold the story of the journey upon which we were embarking. He could have cleared the ball, especially the second time it came to him, and many people would have applauded it.
“We wouldn’t have conceded those goals. But that wasn’t our concern. Our aim was higher, our vision longer than this one game at AAMI Park and the three points up for grabs. We lost that game three-nil.
“The players were probably looking out for a baking in the sheds, because they knew how dirty I get when we lose; I have never just swept losses under the carpet, but when they came back inside it wasn’t a case of me tearing strips off the team.
“I made sure my message was crystal clear: I couldn’t believe that those guys had the courage and bravery to do what they’d just done. From that point they didn’t fear losing any more.
“Their biggest fear became not following the game plan. The ultimate fear of a player is failing through error on a big stage and conceding goals, that feeling that the world is going to swallow them up, well, they lost that fear because the world didn’t swallow them up.