Ange Postecoglou is just two games into his Tottenham reign but he is already lifting the gloom around Spurs, with fans daring to dream, while the media could not be more impressed.
Tottenham have been at a crossroads following the unsuccessful tenures of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. The mood was toxic as the prospect of European football evaporated last term and then Spurs lost their talisman and all-time leading goalscorer Harry Kane before the season started.
Typically unperturbed, Postecoglou has already endeared himself to the Spurs faithful with his charisma and high-octane brand of attacking football. Fans have been serenading the Australian trailblazer in the stands and in the streets, particularly in the wake of the 2-0 win over Premier League giants Manchester United.
As Tottenham prepare to visit Bournemouth on Saturday, The Guardian’s chief sports writer – Barney Ronay – believes happy times are ahead thanks to the A-Leagues legend, who has four points from two games.
“He is amazing,” he said on the Guardian Football Weekly. “I don’t know what he has, well I do what he’s got, he’s a really good football manager and a really great guy.
“I would just love to have one per cent of it. He has such charisma. Just wondering around after the game, applauding the crowd. Often it feels a bit showy but totally doesn’t with him.
“I feel like Tottenham have accidentally hired the right manager, by accident they have someone who will make them feel happier. The idea that they should be winning things all the time seemed a bit odd. Do they need a super stadium? Probably not.
“Spurs is about having nice occasions and some really great players and some nice days, and losing some other games.
“They are going to be fun to watch, which is just so nice to say after the last three seasons.”
Fellow Guardian Football Weekly guest Nedum Onuoha, who previously played for Manchester City and QPR, added: “It is very impressive. It is the exact opposite of what we’ve seen in the past.
“I will be watching more Spurs games this year, which is something I’d never thought I’d say.
“A team that loses their starting forward, the sky should be falling in but they’re fine.”
Postecoglou – the first Tottenham manager to beat United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – was also the subject on ‘The Athletic Football Tactics Podcast’ .
From tactics and persona, to comparisons with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, there was more praise for the former Socceroos and Celtic head coach.
He has a very down to earth aspect to his personality mixed with his authoritative personality,” podcast host Ali Maxwell said. “Humour too.
“My favourite thing about his personality is his use of the word mate. If a British or English manager used the word mate to that extent, it wouldn’t land at all. But when he uses it, it’s down to earth, it lands and there’s something passive aggressive about it.”
Tottenham writer Charlie Eccleshare then discussed the similiarities between Postecoglou and Arteta, who was appointed by Arsenal in 2019 and overcame a slow start to turn the Gunners into Premier League contenders.
“I was thinking about this earlier, it’s really interesting the comparison with Arteta,” Eccleshare said. “He had no managerial experience.
“Postecoglou is almost evangelical about the way he wants to play, he is uncompromising. Arteta, everyone assumed he was going to be a mini Pep (Guardiola).
“That FA Cup win he had, certainly against (Manchester) City, it was a very counter-attacking setup. It was the back three. That worked for them. They had to do that at that time because they didn’t have the players to dominate games. Obviously that massively over time.
“Whereas Postecoglou has come in and basically said this is my system. We’re doing this straight away. He hasn’t come and said we’re going to evolve to that.”
The Athletic’s Liam Tharm added: “They’re good sort of case studies for this (Arteta at Arsenal and Erik ten Hag at Manchester United).
“Obviously Spurs are slightly different in the sense he’s had a full pre-season there and now losing Kane so early on. Going through pre-season with him and then losing him changes the dynamic of things. They were so reliant on him.
“Now they’re transitioning to be a more attacking team. I don’t think Arsenal and Manchester United had to make quite as big jumps as Spurs have tried to do.
“Looking back at Arsenal, they won just two of their first seven under Arteta. They ended up playing a 3-4-3 into the cup final.
“There is a quote from Arteta in December 2020, ‘we want too move to a 3-4-3 but for that you need a lot of specificity in every position but in five or six positions we don’t have it’.
“We’re seeing now even Postecoglou experimenting in real time.”