source : www.news.com.au
The honeymoon could be over for Ange Postecoglou.
The Australian manager was the toast of the Premier League after his extraordinary unbeaten start at Tottenham.
A club used to battling for relevance in the busy, competitive London market rose to the top of the league in their first ten games with a scintillating style of play, with ‘big Ange’ quickly winning over the doubters.
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But that admiration has suffered its first blow, and a significant one, after his arrogant tactics in a heavy 4-1 home defeat to London rivals Chelsea.
Going into the match looking to take a two-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table, Spurs scored the opening goal in just the sixth minute through Dejan Kulusevski before absolute madness ensued.
Towards the end of it all, Tottenham had two men sent off and suffered a 4-1 defeat.
Postecoglou’s dogged determination to stick to his style, employing a high defensive line even without two players on the pitch, has drawn sharp criticism.
“The red card and the pen was obviously a game-changer, but at that point Chelsea started to find some space,” former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy said on talkSPORT.
“I wondered if (Postecoglou) might have gone to a five at the back at half-time. He likes to play attacking football, but that is still possible with ten men. You can still have the wing-backs bombing, but defensively you can be solid.
“But no, he played a 4-3-2 and a 4-3-1. I thought (it was) naive. He gave Chelsea the opportunity to fall behind.
“It felt almost inevitable that we would fall behind, it was only a matter of time.
“I was surprised that Postecoglou… I must say there was a certain arrogance not to change it.”
Former England and Arsenal striker Paul Merson also expressed his surprise at the tactic in a column on Sky Sports.
“Tottenham playing on the halfway line with nine players was simply extraordinary,” he wrote.
“I had never seen anything like that before. But Ange Postecoglou should have changed tactics.
“I like Postecoglou and he probably thought Chelsea would score in the second half if he played against ten men. So there’s no point in going out with a moan, playing with ten men behind the ball and never having the impression to expect him to score a goal.
“But sooner or later Chelsea had to find that pass in the backfield. It was very easy. If that had been Man City against Tottenham it would have been at least 10-1.”
Even before the full toll of Postecoglou’s tactical decisions had been felt, former England and Spurs chief executive Glenn Hoddle was crying out for change.
“If Tottenham keep playing this high, about halfway, then I think it will be football suicide with 10 men,” he said at half-time of the broadcast.
“You can’t put pressure on the ball and then they get picked off. They need to play a little deeper.
“They’ve been doing it all season. They had the defenders there, they made it work, but it seems to me they haven’t changed their tactics. They have to change.”
We all know now that Postecoglou refused to change, leading to the bizarre sight of almost all the outfield players crowding around the center circle as Chelsea tried to beat the line, which they began to do more and more as the match progressed.
To their credit, Spurs fans still showered their new full-time manager with applause and the affable Aussie showed who he is when asked about it after the match.
“It’s just who we are, mate,” he said. “It’s who we are and who we will be as long as I’m here.
“If we go back to five men, we will try.”
source : www.news.com.au