Tottenham’s Australian football manager Ange Postecoglou has already got the fans onside, but needs to be given the time to show his attacking brand of football can work in the Premier League, according to former Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson.
The Greek-born 58-year-old, dubbed ‘Big Ange’, has taken his new club by storm reinvigorating a team that recently lost its best player Harry Kane to Bayern Munich.
A draw and two wins to start the new Premier League season, including a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, has catapulted Spurs to third on the table – with Postecoglou’s attitude on the pitch and handling of the media delighting Tottenham’s supporters. Even Robbie Williams is on board after his hit song Angels was co-opted by Spurs fans.
Recently retired Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson, who played a key role for Postecoglou’s Socceroos in their 2015 Asian Cup triumph, says the new Tottenham boss has done “really well” to get the backing of Spurs’ fan base.
“The trajectory he was on and the success he was having, it was inevitable that a bigger club was going to come in,” Wilkinson told Central News. “Now with Tottenham it’s on that larger scale again and for him to start so well, it’s really important to get the fans onside.
“Everywhere he’s gone he’s been successful and he knows that if he can get teams playing the way that he likes … then success will follow. It’s great to see that they’ve started well and I’m sure that he still believes that there’s a lot of learning to do in that squad.
“Hopefully he’s given the time to get the players he needs and implement his style.”
It’s been a relatively bleak picture in recent years at Tottenham Hotspur, but Postecoglou is providing the North Londoners with fresh hope.
He joined Spurs with many question marks over his appointment – does an Australian have what it takes to manage in the Premier League?
It mirrored his start at Celtic in 2021, where many believed he was out of his depth. But the former Socceroos coach would go on to win five trophies in Scotland as Hoops fans fell in love with the Aussie.
Fast-forward to August 2023 and Spurs supporters are showing the same adulation – despite being only three games into the Premier League season – and with pundits branding the new style ‘Ange ball’.
Honey wake up, new Postecoglou Spurs chant just dropped 📣
Tottenham fans have come up with this brilliant chant for their Aussie manager, to the tune of Robbie Williams' "Angels", ahead of tomorrow's early kickoff at Bournemouth 🤣
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) August 25, 2023
But can we blame Tottenham fans for getting excited?
Years of defensive football under José Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Nuno Espírito Santo deprived fans of attacking entertainment, with chairman Daniel Levy confessing that Spurs had “lost sight of their DNA” – so it is no surprise that ‘Ange-ball’ is taking off.
The free-flowing, high octane football that Postecoglou has embedded into his new-look Spurs side is pleasing on the eye. Players like Heung-Min Son and Dejan Kulusevski now have attacking freedom and the creativity of summer signing James Maddison is showing promising signs.
Tottenham’s players are buying into his forward-thinking tactics and perhaps feel refreshed after years of defensive focus, with staff and supporters also afforded a sense of closure after finally selling former talisman Kane.
And although Spurs lost for the first time this season in the League Cup on Tuesday night at Fulham, narrowly defeated in a penalty shootout, optimism for the Australian coach still fervently remains.
In the cut-throat industry of Premier League management, Postecoglou will have to get his footballing philosophy across to Tottenham’s players whilst also earning results.
He is extremely steadfast in how he believes football should be played.
Seven points in three league games is a positive start, with Spurs showcasing their new possession-based style and scoring six goals in those opening fixtures – but if and when the bad results come it remains to be seen how players and fans will react.
Postecoglou is not one to waiver from his footballing philosophies however, with the Aussie coach known for sticking to his attacking brand of football despite the level of opposition – potentially creating a formula for defensive self-destruction, but also the proposition of exciting high-scoring football.
“He is extremely steadfast in how he believes football should be played,” Wilkinson said.
“There was numerous times in the Socceroos’ camps and games where players would make mistakes, we’d concede goals, but as long as we were trying to do the right thing and trying to play the way he wanted, he would back us every single time and it just gives you that belief in him and his system.
“For me, especially as a defender, a lot of the times he wants you to play out and it’s much easier just to kick the ball long and squeeze up, but it gives you that confidence to be able to play in high risk situations.
🗣 "The support has been really positive about what we're doing"
Ange Postecoglou disucsses his start at Tottenham ⚪ pic.twitter.com/lCTw4VoZqs
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 25, 2023
“Eventually it becomes second nature and you don’t even think.”
Perhaps the early positive signs from Postecoglou’s Tottenham are only a glimpse of what is to come.
A few more months to implement his playing style and a January transfer window to purchase more players to fit the new system, provided the Australian is still in the job, can only enhance his chances of succeeding.
Tottenham also have no European distractions this season and are already knocked out of the EFL Cup, allowing Postecoglou more training time with his players.
‘Ange-ball’ worked its magic in Scotland and it is starting to charm the Premier League, but time is required before Big Ange’s Spurs come to fruition.
Main image screenshot courtesy Optus Sport.