The new Tottenham Hotspur head coach began his first day of pre-season with his players on Saturday at the club’s training ground
Ange Postecoglou has plenty to do in the weeks ahead after he started pre-season work as the new Tottenham Hotspur head coach.
The 57-year-old officially kicked off his contract as the new Spurs boss on Saturday morning with the start of pre-season training at Hotspur Way as most of the club’s non-internationals returned to the Enfield-based complex. Postecoglou now has just over a month to drill his very different style of football into the group of players as more arrive and depart.Here are five things we reckon will be on the Australian’s to-do list in the weeks ahead.
Postecoglou enjoys appointing a new set of coaches when he joins a club, in order to keep him refreshed, challenge him and give a chance to highly-rated young staff. That is no different at Tottenham.
His freshly-appointed Spurs staff includes senior assistant coach Chris Davies, assistant coaches Ryan Mason, Matt Wells and Mile Jedinak and goalkeeping coach Rob Burch.
“It’s as much about what we do off the field as what we do on it. Starting with the coaching, which is probably the most important aspect,” said Postecoglou. “They’re really bright, talented and ambitious guys. It’s a great mix. We’ve got guys who know this football club very well in Ryan, Matt and Rob, even coming through the academy so they know the whole Spurs experience and what it means. So it’s great to have them.”Then Chris is somebody I’ve followed from afar, an ambitious young guy and Mile I know really well obviously because he was captain of my national team and a determined bloke to bring success wherever he is. I know that success will follow him because he’s been a leader from a very young age.
“The most important thing for me in these early parts is people getting to know me. That’s staff members, players, people associated with the club, they need to get to know me, what I’m about. If they get to know me and believe in me, whatever I need to do after that is easier. That’s the first bit.”
At Celtic, Harry Kewell said he knew within 48 hours exactly what the Postecoglou way was and then he was able to go off and spread the word to the players. The new Spurs boss will be hoping for a similarly quick take-up from his latest coaches, who all do appear to share similar beliefs about how the game should be played.
Get the players fit
The Postecoglou brand of attacking, possession-based football is relentless with its pressing high up the pitch and the Tottenham players are going to need to be fit enough to handle it.
During a season, training under the Australian contains 60-70 minute training sessions of non-stop work and drills on the pitches to mirror the amount of time the ball is in play during a match and the summer is expected to be even tougher as the new head coach gets the players into the shape required to play that high energy, non-stop style of attacking and pressing football.
Antonio Conte had dedicated fitness staff among his set-up but without any such coaches confirmed in Postecoglou’s staff, it would seem that the task of fitness will revert to the sports science staff at the club as the players take on the heat and humidity of Thailand and Singapore after their trip to Australia, where the weather is slightly cooler at this time of year.Decide which returning loan players he can use
It’s an old cliché in football – ‘just like a new signing’ – but it can be the case when a new manager walks through the door, that depending on their contract situation and circumstances at the club, most players get a clean slate to try to impress.
For Postecoglou, he will need to evaluate the 11 returning loan players and decide exactly who might just be perfect for his system when they were not for the previous managers and who can now move on.
All eyes will be on Tanguy Ndombele and whether he could finally flourish under his first attacking manager since those early months with Mauricio Pochettino. The Frenchman will need to buy in completely to the Postecoglou way though if he is to stand any chance of doing so.
Harry Winks has left for Leicester in a £10m move but there are the likes of Sergio Reguilon, Djed Spence and Bryan Gil who are already back in training with Ndombele, while Giovani Lo Celso and Joe Rodon remain on their post-international holidays until during the week beginning July 10. Destiny Udogie will finally arrive at Spurs after spending his first year back in Udinese and is expected to return earlier than scheduled, around July 12, and before the tour despite his involvement at the European U21 Championships.
There are also the young academy players back from loan such as Troy Parrott, Dane Scarlett and Harvey White for Postecoglou to take a look at this summer and decide whether they are ready for his squad.
Decide on his best formation and the new faces he needs
This summer will also be about new Tottenham players, with James Maddison and Guglielmo Vicario having already arrived this week.
Now he will begin working first-hand with the squad, Postecoglou can quickly confirm exactly what formation he felt beforehand would suit the team best, whether it’s his favoured 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 or alternating between both and he will have to decide which players are worth tweaking the system for.
The Australian will also see clearly what still needs to be done in the transfer market and that includes the defence with the need for new centre-backs.
At the moment Postecoglou only has Japhet Tanganga of the first team central defenders to look at with all of the others on post-international holidays. So he will likely have to decide which of the other defenders can head out of the exit door, should the offers arrive, without getting to see them up close first.
Others in the squad will also get a chance to leave a good impression or find themselves on the fringes of his plans, including young starlets such as Alfie Devine, Matthew Craig, Alfie Dorrington and Maksim Paskotsi.football.london reported this week that the plan is for Postecoglou and Harry Kane to speak when the striker returns from his holiday following his England exploits.
The 29-year-old, who is expected back during that week beginning June 10, has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich as he enters the final 12 months of his contract at Spurs. The north London club continue to insist that Kane is not for sale and that he is part of Postecoglou’s plans for the coming season.
The Australian left his mark on both Maddison and Vicario with his chats with them before they signed and Spurs will be hoping that his words have a similarly inspiring effect on their all-time top scorer.