Tottenham’s hope in Ange Postecoglou becomes tangible with statement win against Man Utd

 

FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Since leaving their spiritual White Hart Lane home, Tottenham have battled a crippling identity crisis.

Their shiny and slick £1bn stadium was meant to herald a new era of success. Two months after it opened, Spurs competed in their first-ever Champions League final, but every step thereafter has been one going backwards.

The appointment of Jose Mourinho in place of Mauricio Pochettino was mind-boggling from the get-go. The stumble into Nuno Espirito Santo was pathetic. The return to Antonio Conte was at least palatable as he was considered a top-five coach at the time, but it typically unravelled in the most Tottenham of ways.

They swung and missed on their two top targets this summer in Julian Nagelsmann and Arne Slot. Up next on their shortlist was Ange Postecoglou.

Ange Postecoglou

Nay-sayers claimed the Greek-Australian was underqualified, that if Spurs were desperate to get a successful manager from Celtic they may as well have gone for Neil Lennon.

But Postecoglou’s methods and preachings made him the perfect fit at this time of Tottenham’s cycle, his enthusiasm and charisma exactly what a club of this size and stature needed.

The sale of Harry Kane a day before Spurs’ Premier League season kicked off was a real sucker-punch, but it also alleviated any remaining weight of pressure. Tottenham chalked up a respectable draw at Brentford before returning home to face Manchester United on Saturday.

Ahead of the match, a supporter-led protest against the club’s egregious ticket price hikes took place outside, but their chants against the board were sprinkled with messages of support for the new gaffer.

Fans had even organised a welcoming tifo to greet their boss properly. The pre-match atmosphere was one with hope and excitement, the stadium finally turning into the cauldron of noise it was destined to be.

On the pitch, Tottenham delivered a performance of promise. They weren’t perfect – particularly off the ball when Man Utd got their heads up and played with purpose – but they were a team in Postecoglou’s image.

Pape Matar Sarr crashed Spurs ahead just after the restart before an own goal from Lisandro Martinez secured their 2-0 victory late on.

Pape Matar Sarr

Pape Matar Sarr

The addition of a drum in the single-tier Park Lane end helped to maintain a bubbling atmosphere, but just as Postecoglou foretold, the players and fans worked in tandem to bring the noise.

Speaking to 90min after Tottenham’s 5-1 pre-season win against Shakhtar Donetsk, Postecoglou said: “A big part of that [fan] experience, if we’re playing the kind of football I want us to play, is that they’ll feel a part of it. They’ll be able to ride the adrenaline that the team gives.

“The energy goes both ways. The supporters can give the team energy but we can also give our supporters energy by showing them that we want to play football that excites them.”

Jubilant Spurs supporters danced along the concourses at full time, ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Freed From Desire’ pounded and bounced off the walls, “blind faith” in Postecoglou as he said in his pre-match conference was vindicated for the first time. You could feel the belief rattling between your eyes and through your body, even if you weren’t sat in a spectators’ seat.

Saturday evening was a monumental first step to unifying a broken club.