‘Went looking for the ball’ – Postecoglou explains why Kulusevski had to come off against Luton

Ange Postecoglou has explained that he felt Dejan Kulusevski was coming inside a little too much in the first half, which is why he decided to hook him at half-time, admitting that he was pleased with the way Brennan Johnson impacted the game.

Tottenham’s game against Luton followed a familiar pattern, with the home side struggling to break down the opposition in the first half.

The Hatters went into the break with a 1-0 lead but Tottenham came flying out of the blocks in the second period and successfully pinned their opponents back, cutting them open time and again.

They got their just reward as an own goal from Issa Kabora on 56 minutes and a Son Heung-min strike on 86 minutes saw them claim all three points.

Dejan Kulusevski
Credit: Ollie Watkins (@watkinsstudio)

Kulusevski was not stretching the play enough for Spurs

Johnson was extremely threatening down the right during the second-half, playing a key part in both the goals and Postecoglou explained that he brought the Welshman on to stretch Luton as Kulusevski was coming inside a lot to receive the ball in the first period.

When asked about the change and Johnson’s impact, the Tottenham head coach told Football.London: “Yeah, he was good. We felt that in the first half Deki was probably coming inside a little bit too much and we felt that Timo was certainly getting some opportunities down the left-hand side and if we got Brennan on the right-hand side that he could equally be a threat. I thought both wingers in the second half were outstanding.”

When asked if wide players play differently and if their usage depends on the state of the game, Postecoglou responded: “Our wingers should play the same way. I think Deki was trying to get maybe too involved in the game a little bit. He went looking for the ball, he’s that kind of player – wants to be on the ball all the time. I just thought we had a different structure in the second half.

“It’s not about the individual players, it’s about the overall structure that they have to follow. I thought it was really important and I could see that Timo was getting two or three really good opportunities, and we weren’t getting the same kind of joy on the other side because Deki was coming inside looking for the ball.

“With Brennan’s pace and he has really good quality delivery, and gets in the box, and I thought the game was going to be good for him.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Based on the type of wingers that Spurs have signed under Postecoglou – Solom, Johnson, and Werner – it is clear that the Australian likes wide players with pace who can stretch the opposition.

Kulusevski is not that type of player but the fact that the Swede has still been a regular in the team this season perhaps shows how highly Postecoglou rates him. However, eventually, one would think that the 23-year-old would have to be moved to a central role.

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