Ange Postecoglou has said that the North London Derby on Sunday will be a testing experience for many youngsters in the Tottenham side and will help them grow as players.
Tottenham go to the Emirates with a very inexperienced side and it will be the first taste that the likes of Guglielmo Vicario, James Maddison, Destiny Udogie, Micky Van de Ven and Manor Solomon have had of this fixture.
Spurs also have a new leadership group, with the likes of Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg no longer being part of it, and Postecoglou admitted the game will serve as a test of their leadership skills.
When asked about the responsibility that the likes of Son Heung-min and Cristian Romero have, the Tottenham head coach told Football.London: “It is important but I guess even for them, it is their first time as leaders in something like this. When you are not a leader, it is easier to just worry about your own performance so this is a great test for them and their leadership.
“Again, this is the experience I want the guys to have and for us to have as a group to help us grow. It is the only way you grow.
“You don’t grow by literally being in the shade. You need to stick your head up and see the sun and allow yourself to grow even if it means at times that experience isn’t a great one, because you can grow from that.
“It is a challenge for all of the group and us, but irrespective it won’t stop our real intent to become this kind of football team whatever the outcome.
“Obviously, positive means you continue but even positive can sometimes derail you because you think you are further ahead than you are. We’re not. After Sunday we’ll be six games into a pretty significant rebuild.”
Postecoglou does not plan his Tottenham speeches
One of Postecoglou’s biggest strengths as a manager is his ability to deliver inspiring speeches, with James Maddison admitting this week that the players are usually ready to run through a brick wall for the Australian after the team meetings (Sky Sports).
That might come in handy ahead of a big game like the one on Sunday, but the 58-year-old insisted that he does not prepare those addresses to the squad beforehand as his message will be modified based on the mood among the players.
When asked about his inspiration pre-match speeches, Postecoglou said: “With those kind of things, I try not to pre-plan them too much. It’s all about reading the room.
“We’ve still got training tomorrow (Saturday) so I need to see how they look in training, see how their build-up is to the game, and I’ll try and get a feel for the room before I speak to them about the final things.
“I always feel that is the best way to frame my message rather than going in there thinking I need to be strong in this area, maybe it’s not needed because they’re focused in the right way.
“Ultimately, whatever I say, whatever way we prepare, there is nothing like the experience itself, that’s the greatest teacher you have.
“For us, that’ll be where we get the most out of the game; going out there and experiencing it and seeing how much we can show of ourselves in such a big game.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Postecoglou’s point about amending the message based on the mood of the squad is quite a pertinent one. Sometimes, supporters fall into the trap of thinking it is just about getting the players up and excited for the game.
However, that can sometimes be counter-productive as the players might be a bundle of nerves when they go out there and are more likely to make rash challenges and get sent off.
If there is already plenty of excitement in the camp, sometimes, the manager’s role ahead of big games like this one would be to calm them down before they go out on the pitch.
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