Spurs fans will be encouraged by the fact that Inverness boss Billy Dodds has compared Ange Postecoglou’s use of full-backs to that of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, following his side’s loss against Celtic in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

Tottenham are expected to abandon the counter-attacking approach they have had under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte for the past three years and to return to a high-pressing, possession-based approach, which Postecoglou is reputed for. 

The new Spurs boss will likely deploy a 4-3-3 – the formation he has used most frequently at Celtic and at Yokohama F. Marinos (Football.London).

Ange Postecoglou

(Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

One of the features of Postecoglou‘s tactical set-up is that he uses inverted full-backs, similar to Manchester City and Liverpool, which means that they prefer to take up central positions during the build-up rather than overlapping on the outside. 

That means that the Australian’s teams have two additional bodies in the middle of the park to help control possession while also opening up passing lanes to the wide-forwards, who tend to stay out wide to stretch the opposition’s backline.

Celtic duo Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston have both adapted exceedingly well to the role over the course of Postecoglou’s time at Parkhead, with the former finishing the 2022-23 season with three goals and four assists (Transfermarkt).

Following the Bhoys’ 3-1 win in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday, a result which saw them complete a historic treble, Inverness boss Dodds, lavished praise on the two Celtic full-backs.

He told The Herald: “I think you see the type of product that he [Postecoglou] brings. You see Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool when he plays those inverted full-backs.

“I had to handle them on Saturday. [Greg] Taylor at times was playing as a centre-forward. So was [Alistair] Johnston, maybe not as high as Taylor.

“It is good for me to learn and try and combat that and try and be a threat as well. That is why I was saying before the game that I knew they would pin us back at times, I knew they would try and get their full-backs forward, but I didn’t just want to camp in. I wanted to get the balance and be a threat. But we just fell short.”

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The one worry I have is that I do not see either Djed Spence or Pedro Porro as being natural fits for the inverted full-back role as both like to overlap down the flank rather than receiving the ball centrally. 

In fact, among the players we currently have, I actually think Ben Davies and Emerson Royal might be the two full-backs who are best suited to playing the aforementioned role while Udogie looks like he has the raw materials to be moulded into the system as well.

That perhaps highlights the importance of recruiting the right kind of full-backs this summer, particularly after the squad has been filled with wing-backs and wide centre-backs during Conte’s time.

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