Postecoglou explains why Bissouma won't take Tottenham penalties and Daniel Levy relationship


Ange Postecoglou has joked that Yves Bissouma is unlikely to be Tottenham's new penalty taker and has explained why it is important for him to form a connection with the club's decision-makers like chairman Daniel Levy.

The Spurs era under Postecoglou has started brightly with a draw at Brentford and then an eye-catching victory at home against Manchester United. As Tottenham visit Bournemouth on Saturday, most of all the Australian's impact has been felt behind the scenes as he has pulled together a club that had been left fractured by a mess of a season with so many different head coaches in quick succession.

Now everyone at Tottenham is pulling in the same direction again, even after losing the club's star player with Harry Kane's move to Bayern Munich. One question though is who will take the penalties at Spurs now the England captain has decided to ply his trade in the Bundesliga?

"I saw a few of them trying today. Sonny is up there, I think Madders and Richy are all sort of in there," said Postecoglou before chuckling. "Bissouma I have seen take about 500 and miss about 495 but he is still out there practising, so I don't know but it is somewhere in that order."

The Spurs boss has started to see evidence of a growing link-up between his attacking players in training with James Maddison trying to thread it all together, but the Australian feels it's only the early days of their relationships.

"Yeah I am [seeing that] and that is where I know we still have a long way to go because there isn't that understanding yet. Madders has been with us for like a month and two Premier League games so when you are talking about both the attacking and defensive side of the game, a lot of it is about understanding," explained Postecoglou.

READ MORE: Every word Ange Postecoglou said on James Maddison, transfers, Lloris, Lo Celso and Hojbjerg

"Two centre-halves need a good understanding and we have Micky and Romero who have played two games together, the midfield set-up needs an understanding and the front third, the reading of how people play and their own idiosyncrasies within that like when to make a run, those things take time.

"Obviously you work on it in training and our training has been really good. The coaching staff are putting on some brilliant sessions where you see it come to life but it is not natural at the moment and it can't be. It will take I don't know how long but it will take a while before it becomes natural but I have certainly seen it.

"If you are the creative player like Madders, you want to read Sonny's runs, which are different to Kulusevski's runs, which are different to Richy's runs, and if you are those players, you are looking for the cue when Madders is going to turn or Bissouma or Pape Sarr is going to make a run so that you are involved.

"All those things and those relationships take time but I have been pleased. I think our attacking play is the area where we have much more improvement to do but I have seen some really good signs early on."

While Richarlison is yet to find the net in the Premier League this season, Son and Kulusevski are also still to join him although there are clear signs they are starting to get to grips with their new roles under Postecoglou.

"I think they are growing into it and again they are being asked to play differently to the past," said the Tottenham head coach. "Even though they are experienced and really accomplished players, especially in Sonny's case, sometimes they are the hardest ones to work with if they are not open-minded because they will say, 'I've made a career playing this way, why do I need to change?'.

"So, that can be a real difficult task but Sonny has been really good at understanding the role and the way it is different from last year. I thought last weekend both of them had some really good moments and I think as a team that is where we are at.

"We are going to have good moments. I would love for us to have a really good compelling performance this early on in the season, but I think if we can grasp on to those moments individually and collectively and grow from there then we'll be in good shape."

Postecoglou still expects Tottenham to strengthen his squad further during the remaining week of this transfer window while getting a large number of unneeded players out of the door. With chief football officer Scott Munn yet to officially start his role and no director of football in place, despite former managing director of football Fabio Paratici still helping in a consultancy capacity, the decision-making remains in the hands of chairman Levy.

The club's head coach has worked around the world and one thing he has found at all of his sides on various continents is that it's key that he strikes up a good relationship with the people who make the decisions that affect his team and his future and in Postecoglou's own words, he often gets his way.

"Wherever I've worked, I've tried to make sure that I've been really clear on the way I work and how I set things up to try and get success for that, for whatever club I'm working for," he said. "I've worked for all different types of ownership models and they've all been different.

"My role within that is to get a connection with the people who make the decisions because I can't do this in isolation, I need everyone on board, and particularly when there’s a major shift in direction - and wherever I've gone, that's usually happened - if everyone's not on board, it's not going to work.

"So, I'm really pleased with the way people have embraced the direction we're going in terms of the way we're working. Bringing in new staff that I've never worked with before, that can make people uneasy within a football club, but the people who run this club were happy for me to go in that direction, so they're the kind of things I look for.

"It's not just about being backed with money. It's a manner in which you work. It's the authority you're given, and people who know me in my career know that if I want something done, I'll usually get it done, in my mind."

Spurs had 17 shots at goal against United on Saturday but none of them came from Richarlison, the man who is tasked with playing the centre forward role left vacant by the club's all-time top goalscorer Kane. When it was pointed out that the Brazilian wasn't getting into goalscoring positions much during the game, Postecoglou gave a big sigh.

"We’re two games in, mate, come on! Jeez, you love the big call, don’t ya!" he said. "I never live in that kind of moment where I judge things that quickly. I get why others do. I get it, he should be on six goals, top goalscorer in the league. Everyone said, ‘look he’s going to replace Harry, he’s going to score more goals’.

"But you don't know at this point how many goals he’s going to end up at the end of the year. I thought he played really well. He was a really good link-up for us, especially in the second half when we had the ascendancy.

"If you look back at the passages of play, he was an important part of that. Holding the ball up, playing out wide, being a real presence in the box, I thought he was unlucky on a couple of occasions. It’s come off the crossbar, a couple of scrambles, on another day it falls for him and he scores. He’s in those areas.

"It’s the same as our form. I don’t look at our form and think 'Oh jeez, we’re going to be unbelievable this year'. It's two games, and in those two games, there was some real positive stuff but there was also a lot there that tells me we've got a long way to go. I get why others get emotional, it's an emotional game, but that's not the way I look at it from my perspective. I thought we needed to be a strong as a team to get a result last week and I thought Richy was an important part of that."

He added: "If he has gone 20 games without a goal, yeah for sure I will have a discussion! But not after two games! There is always a point but usually there is reasoning behind it.

"If Richy was playing for another Premier League team and scoring between 10 and 15 goals last season, like he did at Everton, people will say why don't you go and sign Richarlison? He is a proven Premier League player, but he is here. I don’t look at it through the lens of last season, I just look at it through the lens of now.

"We are two games into a season where he has helped us when our football is not where we need to be to get a couple of promising results and hopefully that continues. Of course there is always a point [when you have a chat] but we are nowhere near that at the moment."

So how has Richarlison been behind the scenes as he takes on the pressure of replacing some of the goal output lost by the sale of one of the world's best strikers?

"I don’t know. All I can look at is behaviours, the way he’s training and playing. I think he’s handling it OK. I don’t know that there’s that much of a burden there to carry," said the Tottenham head coach. "Ultimately, this football club needed to change. Change is the only way you can instigate a different outcome. Sometimes that’s not a better outcome, by the way, it could be a worse outcome, but there needs to be change.

"I think everyone at the club has got to grips with the fact that Harry has gone and he’s gone off to a new challenge. I’m sure he’ll do very well over there. We’ve got our own challenge now. I don’t think there’s any usefulness in comparing yourself to something that is no longer here and is not really relevant anymore.

"It would be different if it was off the back of a successful era, because with successful eras you want some sort of continuation, but at some point there needs to be a breakage there of what people perceive of you as a football club. That change has happened. It’s not just about Harry, it’s about everything we’re doing. You have to be different if you want a different outcome."

Postecoglou has had a career spent trying to battle his way up the ladder and show people just how good a coach he can be, despite the CV of success that is laid out behind him.

Again he has arrived in the Premier League without too many fans in the league knowing that much about his kind of football and despite winning trophies almost everywhere he has been, he will have to justify Tottenham's decision in the weeks and months ahead as he has done elsewhere across the world.

"It's just being Australian, I guess. If you come from a non-traditional - if that's the right term - nation, one that people don’t see as a kind of football fertile ground, European or South American, there's this kind of a stigma," he said. "More against your abilities and your experience. I get the people say ‘Well, okay, so you've won a couple of titles in Australia or what does that mean?’.

"But I still had to win them. I was in a competition that was variable to what I was working with. You still need to win. Same when I went to Japan. You still needed to win against comparable opposition.

"At Celtic we were successful, but you have to be successful up there. So if I wasn't Australian, if I was of a European, or maybe South American background, and I’d done all these things in nations here in Europe that maybe weren't even first-tier nations, I think people would look at me differently.

"But at the same time it hasn't been a millstone around my neck or anything. I don't worry about it or cry. I've really enjoyed my career, I've loved my journey. I think it's certainly given me the experience to make me hopefully a better manager and a better person in many respects, because it hasn't been solely your conventional kind of football, managerial career.

"I've loved it. I've loved every minute of it, and I think, to me, it feels like it's something that helps me wherever I am."

For Postecoglou, especially when he first arrived in the UK at Celtic two years ago, there were echoes of the 'who is this guy?' reception Arsene Wenger received when he arrived in the Premier League 27 years ago after his own time in Japan.

Postecoglou just has to accept it in Scotland and work in the same way he always has and he feels Wenger is a great example of people misjudging how important someone outside of the normal channels can be in coming in and changing attitudes and ideas.

"Yeah, I think [you have to accept it], but I don't think that's a bad thing because 27 years ago it was Arsene and what he did as a football manager helped the Premier League grow," he said. "That's how you get growth and it's not always about looking further down.

"Sometimes it's right in front of you. It could be English managers here right in front of people that they're missing, because of whatever the current trend is, or what they think, is a model. I've always been attracted to listening to, or observing people, and organisations that do things a little bit differently.

"Those that are prepared to look beyond just, you know, what everyone else is looking at. People who just lift their heads a little bit, or maybe look a bit left or right and see because it doesn't have to come from Australia.

“It could be in your neighbourhood, right there in front of you, but you're not looking at them because it doesn't fit a mould that somehow people think you need to be to work at this level, and I think that's a good growth, by having different people with different experiences, different journeys coming into an organisation or a competition.

"All of a sudden others start thinking the same way. All of a sudden what seems like leftfield becomes the norm and it improves you. Hopefully, I've tried to do that.

"To be honest, I faced a similar thing in Japan because it was a different kind of thing. Again, they play the game a certain way and I tried to change that, provoke that a little bit, whilst being respectful to the fact that there's some real strong values in that nation.

"But then you do it and then people all of a sudden say, ‘you know, that's great. Let's have more of it’. I've tried to do that wherever I've been."

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