Ange Postecoglou reveals how many transfer windows he needs to transform Tottenham


Ange Postecoglou believes he needs another couple of transfer windows to turn Tottenham Hotspur into the club he wants it to be.

Spurs had a busy summer transfer window, moving 13 players out of the door including all-time top goalscorer Harry Kane, while seven players were signed as well as Dejan Kulusevski and Pedro Porro's loan moves being made permanent. The average age of Postecoglou's squad has fallen dramatically but there is still more to be done with the Australian in particular wanting another centre-back that never came late in the window.

Postecoglou was asked exactly how many more transfer windows he believes he needs to turn this Tottenham outfit into his squad.

"It depends on the development of the players within this context. We’ve got a lot of young players. So if they develop really quickly, probably not too much," he said. "But I definitely think we need at least two more windows to get to a space where I think ‘okay, we [are happy] as a squad’.

"Because don't forget, obviously, this year, we're out of the Carabao Cup now and we've got no European football. So the fixtures are a little bit kinder to us between now and Christmas, but that's not our aim, we want to have games, we want to be in Europe, we want to be in cup competitions. So we're going to need a stronger squad and I don't think we're anywhere near that point where we've got a robust enough squad at the moment.

"So I think it'll take at least a couple of windows, and then after that, it just depends on obviously the development of some of our players. If they develop quickly, then hopefully, it's just fine tuning in the next couple of windows, but it may mean you've still got significant work to do."

READ MORE:Every word Ange Postecoglou said on Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier injury, Alejo Veliz and centre-backs

The start to Postecoglou's tenure at Tottenham has gone remarkably well with the team unbeaten in their first four Premier League matches with three victories and they sit second in the fledgling Premier League table. While the Carabao Cup exit at Fulham on penalties was a disappointment, Postecoglou won Premier League Manager of the Month on Friday with James Maddison picking up Player of the Month.

On top of that, Postecoglou has been winning plaudits from everyone for Spurs' brand of football and he has been nominated in the FIFA Best Manager category for his treble-winning season at Celtic.

Whatever you do though, don't suggest to the 58-year-old that with Nuno Espirito Santo having also won a manager of the month award and been sacked two months later by Tottenham that the current head coach might be enjoying a honeymoon period.

"Are you married? I don't know what your honeymoon was like, but mine didn't have me losing the greatest player in the history of this football club on the eve of a season, me trying to scramble to get players into the club, fighting for everything I do mate. That’s not what my honeymoon was about," he said with a grin.

"My honeymoon was fairly relaxed and stress-free, and very enjoyable, and I’m well aware after 28 years of the pitfalls of management, trust me. I’ve gone into this with my eyes wide open, if you think that I'm kind of floating along thinking everything's going to be smooth.

"But, at the same time, there’s a reason this [praise] is happening. People aren't doing it just from the goodness of their heart, they’re obviously encouraged by what they see, and I’m not going to dismiss that because that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to create a football club the supporters are excited about, what people are talking about, so I’ll take that as encouragement to go down this way, but I don’t sit here and think this has come to me or been served on a platter. I’ve worked hard, mate, I’ve worked really hard. It’s been a really tough period, nothing like my honeymoon."

So what was that actual honeymoon really like for the newly wed Mr and Mrs Postecoglou?

"We did a nice trip of Europe. A bit of Paris, a bit of Venice, a bit of Athens, my wife lost her luggage which meant she obviously had to go and replace that and then the luggage turned up anyway. Cost me a fortune but it was wonderful," he remembered.

When it comes to making his work environment wonderful Postecoglou is constantly looking to fine tune everything around him to make sure that he and his team can perform to their optimum levels.

"Things have been going well my whole career, I’ve had a lot of success and through that all I’ve just focused on one thing and that’s 'are my team playing the football I want, are we training in a way I want, is the environment the way I like it?'" he said. "That’s what I’m constantly looking at, irrespective of the short-term, where there may be challenges where the results aren’t there, or when the results are there and I'm fairly even in my demeanour and temperament in dealing with it the same way.

"The radar's always up because when things aren’t going well to see whether guys going to respond in the right way, is there something we’re missing here, and when things are going well, are we at the edge we need to be, are we sort of getting complacent? It doesn’t change, the scenario for me. If you have any longevity in the game you kind of know all these things you need to treat with equal measure in terms of not having too many extremes in your reactions to them one way or the other and if you do that then the people you're working with and the people you're around tend to follow that lead."

Even for a Postecoglou season though the results have been far less rocky than he's had elsewhere in his career with the Tottenham players seemingly absorbing his changes quickly.

"Does it seem like a honeymoon, does it?" he joked. "It’s still rocky, mate. I think people get swayed - and it’s only natural - by outcomes. At Celtic I lost three of our first six. At Yokohama we were battling relegation, but I can tell you the same sort of building stuff I did at the those clubs, I'm doing here. The only difference is the results have been better. Encouraging, for sure, but I love this period because there is pretty much a day-to-day uncertainty about where we're at. That will be here for the next six months to a year.

"Everywhere I’ve been, the second year is where I’ve felt like the team has really taken hold, but I also understand at this football club I can't go three, four, five months without results because I won't last. That’s the reality of it. It was the same at Celtic. I lost three of the first six. I kind of knew that if we were going to be champions, we couldn’t lose another game for the rest of the year. I knew that. We didn't.

"But it didn’t make that easy. It doesn’t make this easier than the others. This has been just as challenging. You think about our pre-season. Some of you were on the trip, it wasn’t smooth, mate. You think about the players we've had to get in and out in this short period of time. It hasn't been easy.

"A new start. A new way of training. A new way of playing, but I love it and because I love it, people seem to think that maybe it's easy. It’s not, but that’s OK. That’s the challenge I took on. If you measure on outcomes, yes, this looks like this has been smoother than the others, but I can assure you this has been just as challenging, if not more challenging because of the stakes here in the Premier League."

So in a year's time will Tottenham be in a better place than they are now? The Australian has no doubt about it.

"Absolutely, it has to be. Otherwise there's no point in me being here. It has to be," he explained. "There’s probably five clubs in my career where I’ve had more than a year. The second years have been the years where everything [has improved] because then the players already know how we train, the staff are comfortable, we drive the environment, and you can see that me, as a manager, I slowly can allow people to take more and more responsibility and autonomy in the way we play.

"Then they drive it and then you know we can really accelerate. We’re still miles away from that. I’ve still firmly got my hands on the wheel, mate, I won’t let go for a while."

One big change that has come at Tottenham is a new goalkeeper in Guglielmo Vicario, the first new first choice between the sticks in 11 years. However, the former first choice and ex-club captain Hugo Lloris has remained at the club after being unable to find the new challenge he was seeking.

Postecoglou had earlier told that there was no pecking order among the goalkeepers and he explained further why that can't be the case, although he did admit that Vicario will remain his number one if he carries on in the same vein of his early performances at the club.

"[If you're saying there's a pecking order] then you’re saying that never changes. It won’t change if people are performing but nothing’s cast in stone. I don’t go in and say, ‘that’s my first 11 and that’s it for the rest of the year’. Every day there’s a challenge for them to be at their best or somebody will take their place," he said.

"I don’t think that’s the way to set up a team environment to say this is going to be cast in stone for the rest of time. What if we get an injury tomorrow?

"Vic's earned the right to be number one, his performances have been outstanding so if he continues in that manner, and having Fraser and Hugo there he's going to make sure he is on it every day.

"Fraser has been unbelievable, the way he’s been training and he was unlucky in the Fulham game. He had a good game there. That’s what I want and that's what they want. They want to be pushed every day to be the best they can be."

Among the others who have impressed early on in Postecoglou's side is Destiny Udogie, the 20-year-old left-back taking to the Premier League like a duck to water.

He clearly has a fan in his head coach, a man who is looking to give the team's young players the support to grow.

"He’s been great. We started off the season with Destiny playing his first Premier League game. Micky van de Ven had had two training sessions, playing his first Premier League game, Vicario playing his first Premier League game. All starting in a back four, back five, but within that context, you give guys the platform, opportunity and hopefully belief that we’ll support them, and you get these outcomes, but it’s still a challenge to do that," said Postecoglou.

"I think with Destiny, Micky and Pape Sarr is probably in that boat, these 20-year-olds, 21-year-olds, and say to them look 'You’re not going to be judged on your performances in these early games, not by me, so just go out there and play'.

"I think they’ve embraced that. They've enjoyed that freedom and belief that there was nothing that was going to happen out there that was going to say to me that they’re never going to be a player for this football club, because I was putting them out there, but for them it’s not easy, just putting them out there in the Premier League. It wasn't just one I was putting in, it was three or four.

"We spoke about it as a coaching staff, for that first team selection, it could have been easier to go safer. Absolutely, but we needed to change and we needed to challenge things. Guys like Destiny and Micky and these players who have not just gone in there and found their feet, they've gone in there and tried to smash it. That’s what I want."

Postecoglou also confirmed that Richarlison will play a part for Spurs on Saturday against Sheffield United after the Brazilian explained in the week that he will be looking to speak to a psychologist about off-field issues that had been affecting him in recent months.

"He'll be involved. He trained today and he's fine. He looks fine," said the Tottenham boss. "We'll provide all the support he needs and we'll try and help and sort of guide him to be in a place where he's happy about himself, but he'll be involved tomorrow. Absolutely."

Some have called the task at Tottenham an impossible job because some of the game's top managers have arrived and left soon after having been unable to change the club's fortunes. Postecoglou does not believe there is such a thing as an impossible job.

"I don't think there is. The biggest enticement for me to come here was the fact that it seems like a real difficult challenge. I wouldn't say impossible because it can't be impossible - when you look at the facilities, you look at the resources this club has, you look at the football this club has, it can't be impossible," he said.

"Is it difficult? Yes. You can't just then roll up and not change things and not not be different and expect different outcomes. So my role within that is to say: ‘Okay, well, I've taken on this challenge. So I'm going to do it in a way that hasn't been done before and take it down a different road now'.

"That may end up on the road again where we don't get anywhere, and that's on me, but I really don't think it's impossible. There'd be managers out there with clubs who have got a hell of a lot more challenges than this football club has. They’d be looking at me saying 'I wish I had his job with the facilities we have, the football we have and the resources I have'.

"So it's all a matter of perspective. Do I believe it's a difficult challenge? Yeah, because when a big football club doesn't win something for a long period of time, there’s obviously things that need to be done differently, but I think it's far from impossible and I enjoy the fact that the harder it is, I love being in that space."

Postecoglou has come a long way from his early days when he first started out as a manager at South Melbourne where he had previously been a player, having given up his job at a bank to turn to management full-time.

"In my first job 1997, I took over South Melbourne, the first club I played for. I was 30 years old, I quit my job at the bank. I was a bank teller. What a bad job. If you ever want perspective, like, that's the only thing that's driven in my whole career, something I never wanted to go back to," he admitted.

"It was our fifth game and I remember waking up that morning knowing if we'd lost that game we would have been last on the ladder. The club I took over was the biggest club at the time. We won that game, a scrappy game, 1-0.

"Somebody tells a story that there was supposed to be a board meeting that night, but our president who's a pretty smart cookie said he was sick and there was going to be a vote of confidence in me apparently, and they didn't have it. We went on the rest of the year and we finished well.

"At Brisbane in my first year, same thing. Yokohama, we just avoided relegation in my first year there. Now all these things you can look at and say 'geez, you’re a lucky bugger because people stuck by you', but I'd like to think that people didn't stick by me because I was lucky.

"They stuck by me because they saw something there that they didn't want to miss out on, and every one of those clubs - Celtic the same - they’ll get rewarded for that show of faith. So all the beginnings have been difficult. I haven’t had one that's been smooth, but when I reflect on it, they're the stories I tell."

He added with a smile: "I don't tell the stories of us winning things, they tell themselves. I love telling the stories of the beginnings and....honeymoon periods."

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