Richard Keys disagrees with Ange Postecoglou on 'reckless' Tottenham after Aston Villa loss


Richard Keys has gone against the grain once more as he piled in on Ange Postecoglou after the Tottenham manager was condemned to a third successive defeat. Having gone ahead deservedly against Aston Villa on Sunday, Spurs relinquished their lead yet again and fell to another loss from a position of strength.

The result leaves the Lilywhites just outside the top four with Unai Emery's side leapfrogging them in the process thanks to goals from Ollie Watkins and Pau Torres. It was the management of the game from the home side that angered Keys though.

Writing in his Monday blog the beIN Sports presenter vented his frustration. "It couldn’t have been an easy day at Spurs, but they shouldn’t have lost to Villa," he said, acknowledging the loss of Terry Venables just hours before kick-off. Keys continued: "Having said that - Villa were top class.

"Ollie Watkins finish was as good as you’ll see. Terrific. But Spurs were so naïve again. What was the keeper doing bouncing around in his area trying to get them on the front foot deep in first-half stoppage time? Calm down man. Keep the ball. Get in one-up. Manage the game. Do all of the things you didn’t do v Chelsea. But oh no. They did it again."

Tottenham have largely been praised for their style-shift this season from reactive to pro-active and it has helped them bring in the rewards, punishing sides with their pace and relentless press. However, controlling leads has been an issue of late, as have injuries.

Postecoglou's insistence to keep playing the aggressive brand of football, pushing up the pitch and taking the game to the opposition hasn't stopped even with a host of star players missing and Keys believes it's unforgivable to be as lax in games.

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"They were reckless. I know Ange ‘it’s what we are mate’, but you won’t be joining the big boys unless you’re more professional. I grant you - the way Spurs play can be enjoyable to watch, but it won’t bring success. I don’t buy the fact that they were short yesterday. If they get in one-up the second-half is different.

"They’re beginning to remind me of Spurs under another Ossie - Ardiles. Do you remember the famous five? Ardiles’ team were great in possession and could sweep teams away, but they were also naïve and their inability to win enough games quickly saw off the Argentinian, who was also determined to follow the maxim ‘it’s what we are mate’."

Postecoglou saw things differently and defended his players for their commitment to the cause. "Yeah, again, the outcome is obviously disappointing," he said afterwards. "Disappointing for our fans and particularly disappointing for our players because I felt the players we had out there did a fantastic job playing the football we want to play.

"On any other day it's probably a game we win comfortably. It's about those fine margins in football sometimes. Not happy with the defeat but as a manager when you put a team out there, what you're looking for is some real belief and intent and the team we want to be and I saw loads of that today."

He also wasn't put off by the absence of James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, Pape Matar Sarr, Richarlison, Cristian Romero or Yves Bissouma, instead turning the dial up to 11 on all-out-attack. "I think we had four full-backs and four wingers out there," he continued. "I just thought the way the lads handled all of that, there were plenty of excuses for us to not be dominant today against a very good and settled Villa side, I thought some of our football was as good as we've played all year.

"We don't get the rewards today and we've got to take the pain of the defeat but in terms of our progress I thought if we continue down that road we'll get to where we want to." It is the same mantra that saw Spurs widely admired for their fearless high-line when down to nine-men against Chelsea too.

Postecoglou himself has also been critical of his team in the past when easing off and playing the moment rather than the game, claiming that these things are more costly than being too positive and attacking. For now it waits to be seen how it pans out in the long run but there is no greater test than Manchester City and that is exactly what is on the cards next for Tottenham.

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