We already know how good Ange Postecolgou is in front of the press. Today he may have made even more believers out of a more general audience. Big Ange took advantage of perhaps a slower period in the football calendar — the international break — to make his TalkSport interview debut since becoming Tottenham Hotspur manager, joining the White & Jordan show this morning to talk about his appointment, his methodology, how things are going at Spurs, and how far they might be able to go under his leadership.
I’ve got my issues with TalkSport as an organization (the same issues that I have with ESPN or any big media organization that does “drive time” sports talk format stuff that features hot takes over substantive discussion), but there’s no doubt that it’s an exceptionally popular network and this is a great way to get exposure. And the interview is a good one. A lot of the things Ange says are variations on things we’ve already heard several times before, but the thing about Ange is that whenever he says them he does so in a way that just makes you want to leap up and run through a glass window for him.
I was particularly taken by two things he said. First, he made it clear that he’s not here “just” to win something, though Spurs fans are desperate for silverware. He doesn’t want to win a cup and finish tenth, he wants Spurs to be in a position where they’re winning things every season. That’s the difference between a “cup team,” which defined Spurs for decades, and clubs like Manchester City, United, and Chelsea.
Secondly, Ange talked about he’s taking the burden of the team’s expectations entirely on his shoulders — if he fails at Tottenham, it will be his failure, and not because the club let him down or didn’t support him. I’m not sure I actually believe that sentiment, but it’s the right thing to say and damn but it feels good to have a coach say it instead of throwing players and club leadership under the bus.
The video itself is embedded at the top of this article, but here are my Cliff’s Notes in the event you just want the tl;dw.
On the first few months:
- No real surprises, this is football.
- The reason he’s here is because Spurs weren’t doing well. That’s why clubs make changes, the challenges are expected every time he walks into a role.
- His eyes are open, expects it to be tough, encouraging start to the season, plenty to do.
- Loves a challenge, this is the story of his entire career. Every step along the way he’s moved on the back of success.
- “The fact this is one of the biggest clubs in the world that hasn’t had success for a very long time and was coming off the back of a poor season, that was a key driver for me.”
- Wants to make an impact in a challenging situation. Big opportunity to create something at Spurs.
- The challenge is the same: “to get the team to play a certain kind of football that gives its own fans something to be excited about on a weekly basis.”
- There isn’t a desperation to just win something, because that’s not sustainable. “I’m not in this job desperate to win something just to win something. I’m here because I want to create a club to win things on a yearly basis, and there’s a difference.”
- Spurs winning a Carabao Cup and finishing 10th isn’t what Tottenham is about.
- The reason he’s been successful wherever he’s gone gone to is because he’s identified what they need in the next phase in terms of style, environment, etc.
- When he sees that, he knows a club is a good fit for him. He is uncompromising in his style and his tactics. Important that the club goes with him in the process. But it’s up to him.
- “I’m going to take responsibility for whatever happens here, good, bad, or otherwise. If I don’t succeed it’s not going to be because of something that exists in this club or external factors because I haven’t been able to do what I want to do.”
On Antonio Conte and winning:
- “It’s not my place to talk about the past and other managers because I don’t think it’s fair.”
- A winning mentality is coming in every day and wanting to be the best you can be. All football clubs, players, managers want to win, himself included.
- It’s not just about the winning, it’s about the way we play. The players are open to that.
- “It’s going to test us, we’re going to stumble, we’re going to fall along the way, but when we get to where we want to by playing how we want to, the winning should take care of itself.”
On Spurs’ ceiling:
- “Don’t like ceilings, don’t like floors, don’t like impediments to anything you do in life.”
- It’s about getting the club where he believes it is supposed to be. The club has a lot going for it; his role is to manifest that into something tangible.
- “Whatever ceiling that may exist, we’ll just smash through it.