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Postecoglou praises Richarlison after Lion City hat trick

Tottenham Hotspur v Lion City Sailors - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Ange Postecoglou is normally a pretty loquacious guy but his press conference after Spurs’ 5-1 win over Lion City Sailors was pretty short by his standards. That said, he was able to thank the fans in Singapore for a warm welcome and specially praised Richarlison for his performance. The Brazilian #9 scored a hat trick in the second half and truthfully could’ve had more; Postecoglou had warm words for the man who could very well step into Harry Kane’s role as the tip of the spear should Kane depart the club this summer.

“I hope [his confidence is up]. I’ve said before that I really like Richy. He’s someone who has got all of the attributes I look for in a striker in that he’s got the strong work ethic, he’s always in the right areas and he’s presenting himself and making a presence of himself in the right areas for the way we play.

“He was probably a bit unlucky not to get a couple against West Ham that night. Again he was in the right areas today. I’ve got a lot of time for him and he’s one of the ones I’m looking forward to working with. From the outside you see a player and you try to picture how they fit into the kind of football you want to play and I certainly think he can.”

There was a marked difference in the way that Richarlison played in the center forward position compared to Harry Kane. As I mentioned in the post-match article, this isn’t a pejorative against Kane, who everyone knows is one of the best strikers in world football, but Richarlison seemed to fit the tactics more closely than Kane, at least in this match. There are probably some mitigating factors — Kane’s XI was up against what was mostly Lion City’s starting XI, while there was a lot more rotation in the second half, for example — but it was noticeable.

Ange also tried to speak to the differences between the two strikers and how their strengths differ, pointing out Richarlison’s ability to make specific runs.

“They’re different strikers. They have different strengths. Both though I think have a real presence in the penalty box and that’s why Harry has scored so many goals and why he’s one of the best strikers in the world. Richy is also a presence in the box in a different way so I think they’ve both got the right kind of qualities to play in that area and I think with Richy he can also play wide and as a second striker, mainly because he’s got, and I think people dismiss it a bit, a really strong work ethic. He works hard for the team and a lot of what he does doesn’t get seen. His pressing, his runs sometimes he doesn’t get the ball but he’s always making those runs and he’s a constant nuisance for defenders. So he can play a couple of positions for sure.”

The one area of concern involved Yves Bissouma, who appeared to limp off the field and into the locker room at the conclusion of the first half, favoring one of his feet. There was no update on Bissouma’s condition, but Postecoglou seemed to suggest that there wasn’t much to worry about.

“Yeah, I think [Bissouma’s okay]. He did all the runs at the end. I think he was exhausted, mate. I haven’t picked up anything from the medics. It’s fair to say they’ll be exhausted after what we’ve done in the last three days but I don’t think there’s any issues.”

With their tour now completed, Tottenham return to North London for a period of recuperation and additional training. There’s a lot yet to do this summer, with the futures of several squad players in question, including, of course, Harry Kane. Postecoglou has a lot of questions that need answering, and there are still hopefully at least one new central defender coming in this summer.

Tottenham’s next friendly match is this coming Sunday when Spurs host Shakhtar Donetsk in a charity friendly at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs will conclude their preseason warm-ups by playing Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy match on Tuesday, August 8. Spurs’ Premier League season kicks off on August 13 away at Brentford.