LONDON — Jurgen Klopp has spent latest years speaking about Liverpool’s “mentality monsters,” however Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham are rising because the Reds’ rival for the billing because the group with the best combating spirit within the Premier League.
Make no mistake: Liverpool nonetheless possess the formidable never-say-die angle that has seen the group win each main honour (excluding the Europa League) that it has competed for since Klopp took cost in October, 2015. However Spurs below Postecoglou are displaying those self same qualities this season, which have fueled their climb to second place within the Premier League, some extent behind leaders Manchester Metropolis, after one more efficiency that was outlined by their refusal to desert hope of a constructive end result.
That it wanted a 96th minute personal aim by Joël Matip to present Spurs a 2-1 win on Saturday in opposition to a Liverpool group decreased to 9 gamers, following crimson playing cards for Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota, nonetheless speaks volumes of the dedication and want of Klopp’s aspect. Although Spurs’ persistence proved essential.
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For thus lengthy, Tottenham have been dismissed a group with the recurring flaw of being unable to run the additional mile to win when it issues. Final season, that shortcoming noticed them end eighth within the Premier League and miss out on European qualification. It additionally led to Antonio Conte shedding his job as head coach, and paved the way in which for Harry Kane to go by way of the exit door to hitch Bayern Munich in his seek for a primary main honour of a glittering goalscoring profession.
Contemplating Tottenham’s peerless potential to fall quick, Postecoglou clearly had a job on his palms after leaving Scottish champions Celtic to take cost of the membership this summer time. However the former Australia coach has already remodeled the temper across the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, each on and off the pitch.
When he arrived, the supporters have been protesting in opposition to the possession and chairman Daniel Levy, however now they solely sing in a single voice to serenade “Massive Ange” with their re-working of Robbie Williams’ “Angels.”
On the pitch, the 58-year-old’s humility and honesty is being mirrored by a gaggle of gamers who now possess the persona that has been missing at Spurs for thus lengthy. For the primary time shortly, Spurs have a supervisor who would not give the impression that he’s doing the membership a favour by being there, and his persona is rubbing off on the gamers. They clearly wish to play for Postecoglou, and the religion they’ve of their supervisor is proven of their performances.
Spurs have earned factors from shedding positions in away video games in opposition to Brentford and Burnley, scored twice in stoppage time to beat Sheffield United at dwelling earlier this month, after which went to Arsenal and twice got here from behind to earn a draw within the North London derby on the Emirates. It was a unique story in opposition to Liverpool, with Klopp’s group cancelling out Heung-min Son’s opening aim — Luis Díaz had already scored with a aim wrongly dominated out as offside by VAR, an error that was later acknowledged — with a Cody Gakpo equaliser whereas decreased to 10 males.
Then, when Liverpool have been pressured to play with 9 gamers for the ultimate 20 minutes following Diogo Jota’s dismissal for 2 fast yellow playing cards, the organisation and work-rate of Klopp’s aspect threatened to disclaim Spurs all three factors. Spurs have been lastly rewarded within the sixth minute of stoppage time, when defender Joel Matip turned Pedro Porro’s cross into his personal web, even when it was harsh on a Liverpool aspect that had made it so robust for the house group.
“You wish to put the sport to mattress sooner than we did,” Postecoglou stated. “However once you rating that late, it may well assist construct the spirit throughout the group.”
After solely seven video games of the season, it is nonetheless too early to label Spurs as title contenders, particularly once you issue within the membership’s historical past of over-promising and under-delivering. The lack of Kane’s targets could finally come again to hang-out them when Son stops scoring, or if Richarlison is unable to search out constant kind in entrance of aim.
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For his half, Postecoglou, who guided Celtic to successive league titles throughout two seasons with the golf equipment, says he has not set a goal for his new group but.
“I haven’t got a schedule on marking progress,” he stated. “I am not sitting right here pondering we’re forward of some schedule. For me, it is simply not of curiosity. I do not understand how far we are able to go along with the group, we simply need to maintain kicking on.”
However in a recreation that showcased the perfect of the Premier League, with two groups taking part in to the height of their powers, Spurs got here by way of as winners. That hasn’t occurred too typically up to now, and it is a tribute to Postecoglou that, so quickly after his arrival, his gamers now have the mentality to do what their predecessors solely succeeded in failing to do.
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