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What Postecoglou Will Bring to Tottenham

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What Postecoglou Will Bring to Tottenham

44 days following their 6 - 1 loss to Newcastle and the subsequent sacking of manager Antonio Conte, Tottenham finally have their next manager. Though the appointment of Ange Postecoglou was faster than their previous search to replace Jose Mourinho, which took a shocking 72 days, Postecoglou hardly looked like Spurs’ first choice.

Other names thrown into the ring included: Burnley’s Vincent Kompany, Bayern Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso and Feyenoords Arne Slot, with all of these potential managers rejecting a move to Tottenham.

However, now the Australian has swapped Scotland for London, let’s look at how he might change Tottenham.

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Last updated 20/04/2024

His time at Celtic

Postecoglou was brought to Celtic in 2021 to take over from Neil Lennon, becoming the first Australian to manage a major club in Europe, and the one to avenge Celtic’s loss to Rangers that prevented a tenth league title in a row for The Hoops. Mostly unknown to European football fans, Postecoglou made his way up managing mostly in Australia and Japan, winning 16 titles for six different clubs.

At Celtic, the Australian was also successful. Though Celtic are usually expected to compete for the Scottish Premier League title, Postecoglou dominated during his time in green. In both seasons at Celtic Park, the Australian lifted the title, and in quite impressive fashion.

In the 2021/22 season, Celtic won the SPFL with 93 points, four more than their rivals Rangers in second place. Of their 38 games, Celtic won on 29 occasions, sharing the points six times and losing just three games with a massively superior goal difference, scoring 92 goals and conceding just 22. In fact, the only blight on his record this season was Celtic’s early elimination from the Champions League qualifiers, where their 1 - 1 draw with FC Midtjylland was not enough to overrule the 2 - 1 loss in the second leg.

However, Postecoglou improved even more next season. Celtic’s 2022/23 SPFL campaign was even more dominant. The Hoops this time won 32 games, drawing three and losing three, collecting 99 points, the league title and a seven-point gap to rivals Rangers. This season’s endeavour into the Champions League saw Celtic in the Group Stages. The Hoops finished last with two draws and four losses in a group that included Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Other honours Postecoglou won in his time at Celtic include two Scottish League Cups and one Scottish Cup, with his second season at the club ending in a historic eighth treble for Celtic.

Postecoglou’s Style of Football

Postecoglou has used a number of different formations in his managerial career. In his time in his native Australia, the 57-year-old often utilised a 4 - 2 - 3 - 1 formation with an attacking focus. This setup allowed for the wide attacking players to get in between the lines while assisting the main man (usually Tim Cahill) up-front. The two holding midfielders allow the full-backs to join in with the attack, whilst feeding direct long balls to the forward.

However, in more recent years with Australia, the Yokohama F Marinos and Celtic, Postecoglou has relied more heavily on a 4 - 3 - 3. This meant that Postecoglou could keep using wide attacking players, but it did mean changes for the midfield setup. The 4 - 3 - 3 allows for a much more fluid midfield, both staying central for the fullbacks to attack and floating forward to provide more support to the attack.

In terms of how Tottenham could line up under Postecoglou, Harry Kane, if Tottenham can hold on to him this summer, will naturally be the figurehead up top, and if not Richarlison is a more than good back-up option. Heung-min Son and Dejan Kulusevski can man the wings as the wide threat with the likes of Yves Bissouma or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as the fluid midfield.

New acquisitions could vary knowing Tottenham’s transfer strategies, but Postecoglou has relied on his time in the J-League for a new batch of talent, which could be seen this summer.

How does he compare?

Postecoglou has often been compared to his predecessor Neil Lennon, but how do they actually compare?

Lennon took charge of Celtic twice. His first stint was from 2010 to 2014, where Celtic played 227 games, winning 159, drawing 29 and losing 39. This gave Lennon a 70.04% win rate and three SPFL titles and two Scottish Cups. His second time at Celtic was between 2019 and 2021. In 110 games, Celtic won 77 times, drawing eight and losing just ten times, giving Lennon yet another 70% win rate and two SPFL titles, two Scottish Cups and one Scottish League Cup.

In comparison, Postecoglou took charge of 113 games between 2021 and 2023. The Australian won on 83 occasions, drawing 12 times and losing 18 games. This gives Postecoglou a 73.45% win rate, just slightly superior to Lennon’s time at Celtic Park.

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