Postecoglou: Man City game my worst experience as a football manager


Ange Postecoglou has described Tottenham’s match with Manchester City on Tuesday night as “the worst experience I’ve had as a football manager” and said that he feared observers would question his integrity if Spurs lost heavily.

Ahead of the game, there was a big focus on how a Tottenham win would give their arch-rivals Arsenal the advantage in the Premier League title race over City going into the final weekend of the season.

Postecoglou scoffed at pre-match suggestions Spurs supporters would rather see their side lose to boost City’s chances of beating Arsenal to the crown. But on the night there was a subdued atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with City’s goals in their eventual 2-0 win even cheered by some Spurs fans. There were also chants from the Spurs supporters, when their team had fallen behind, taunting Arsenal.

Postecoglou said he was surprised by the approach of the Spurs fans when the game kicked off and then worried a big win for Man City – who had scored 15 goals in their previous four games – could make it appear his side had deliberately set out to damage Arsenal’s title chances.

“That’s probably the worst experience I’ve had as a football manager in a game,” said Postecoglou.

“Once I realised I’d got it wrong in terms of what the atmosphere was going to be like and what people felt, I got a real anxiety within me of, ‘what happens if Man City, the best team in the world, who were disposing of teams quite easily in the lead up, what if we play as well as we can but they beat us 5-0?’

“I got cold sweats thinking about people questioning my integrity and the people I work with.

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Highlights from Tottenham’s match against Manchester City in the Premier League

“Even watching the game back, there was a comment on the commentary, ‘Oh, Tottenham are having a real go here’.

“You’re laughing about it but that’s 26 years of my life [as a football manager]. If nothing else people should know I love this game. I hate to think – as Man City could have done to us – we’re on the end of a heavy defeat and people are questioning whether I prepared the team.

“Before people say ‘that’s not going to happen’, we know on social media it would have happened, 100 per cent. And I’d have to be up here trying to defend myself. And once you start defending yourself you know what happens, you’re defending something.

“That’s why I was animated on the night. I didn’t enjoy the night.

“I needed the boys – and credit to them – aside from everything else, their football was outstanding on the night. That was important for our football club. It would have cast aspersions on us as a football club. I don’t think anyone can say we didn’t make Man City earn that win the other night.

“It could have gone a very different way, just by Man City being Man City.”

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Jamie Redknapp feels there needs to be a change in mentality at the top of the club before Tottenham can reach the next level and challenge for the Premier League title

Postecoglou praised the contribution of the Spurs supporters this season but reiterated his belief that his team should be going out to win every game regardless of the circumstances if they want to build the mentality to take them to titles in the future.

“Supporters are there to back their club and do their bit,” said Postecoglou. “They’ve certainly done their bit for us this year. The amount of games we’ve won late at the stadium has been extraordinary and the supporters have played a big part in that.

“The last game, I don’t understand. I sat here the day before and mocked the whole thing. I really didn’t believe that was the case. But if that’s how people feel… I’m not a Spurs supporter. They are. They’re the custodians, not me.

“All I can say is to offer my opinion on what you need to be successful. For me, you can’t be successful if your motivations change depending on the contest. You’ve got to want to win all the time.

“It wasn’t just Spurs supporters. Everyone I heard said they understand how they feel. Well I don’t understand. I just can’t think of anything worse than not going all in on victory every time you’re out there.”

What’s next?

The final day of the Premier League season takes place on Sunday with all games kicking off at 4pm.

Tottenham‘s final fixture of the campaign sees them travel to already-relegated Sheffield United.

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