Ange Postecoglou admits Tottenham trip to Australia for Newcastle friendly 'not ideal'

Ange Postecoglou admits Tottenham trip to Australia for Newcastle friendly 'not ideal'

Ange Postecoglou has admitted Tottenham's post-season trip to Melbourne is "not ideal" and says he would have blocked the plan if the club were in Europe this term.

Spurs will leave for Postecoglou's home city immediately after their final game of the season against Sheffield United on Sunday and face Newcastle in a lucrative friendly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Wednesday.

Newcastle's Kieran Trippier has criticised the plan, also saying this week the trip is "not ideal", particularly coming ahead of the European Championship.

But while Newcastle will play 50 games this season, Sunday will be Tottenham's 41st fixture of the campaign after they missed out on a spot in Europe and crashed out of both domestic cups early.

"Our situation is a bit different from Newcastle’s," said Postecoglou, when asked about Trippier's comments. "They’ve had a European season, Champions League, it’s been a big season. We haven’t. It’s no secret part of this exposure but also revenue for us.

"I certainly wouldn’t have allowed it to happen if we were in Europe this year and had a bigger game schedule. I probably would have said no to it.

"And I don’t think the club would have expected us to go. If we’re in Europe next year, I don’t think you’ll be seeing this happen.

Post-season trip: Ange Postecoglou will return to Australia with Tottenham next week (REUTERS)
Post-season trip: Ange Postecoglou will return to Australia with Tottenham next week (REUTERS)

"I don’t think it’s ideal. But I think each situation is unique. For us, on the back of our season, to play one more game two days after the end of the season, there is substance to it for us.

"We had a discussion with the playing group really early on about it. They understood why we’re doing it and we all made a commitment to go and that’s going to happen."

Meanwhile, Postecoglou has admitted he was distracted by the discourse around what supporters wanted from Tottenham's 2-0 defeat by Manchester City on Tuesday, and says he was the main culprit for the mood around the club in the build-up to the game.

Many Spurs supporters felt conflicted about getting a result against City which would have left the title in the hands of their bitter rivals Arsenal, and the occasion played out in a subdued atmosphere - with Postecoglou describing the experience as the "worst" of his managerial career.

Asked if club staff had been distracted in the build-up to the game, Postecoglou said: "I sat in here [in a press conference on Monday] and all the questions I got were about that topic. I'm distracted!

"We're human beings, mate. Do you want me to say there's a culprit who caused everything? It doesn't happen mate, that's not how it works.

"All I'm saying is there was always going to be issues and how you deal with them and how we deal with them as a football club is going to be important.

"OK, if you want a culprit, it's me. Because I didn't take [supporter sentiment] seriously. That's what I think happened.

"I just didn't really understand what was going on. I just didn't think that [fans being conflicted] was the case.

"If I had my time again, yes I would do things differently, I would address the media differently the day before. I would probably address people in the club because they're looking to me for direction. So if you want a head on a stick, it's my ugly mug mate. There you are."

Postecoglou revealed he experienced a similar dynamic at Celtic in 2021, finding a club that was preoccupied with rivals Rangers, and believes he can deliver the same success for Spurs fans as he did for the Bhoys.

"I do get it," he said. "When I started at Celtic, it was the same sort of discussion. Don’t forget, when I took over Rangers had won it the year before, and Celtic hadn't won anything, which is quite extraordinary for that football club.

"When I first got there, there was a lot of talk, some internal as well, about what Rangers were doing.

"And I was pretty consistent and it would be on public record, saying: ‘We've got to worry about ourselves. Don't worry about anyone else. Just be the best you can be'.

"We were never going to catch them if that's what we were always obsessed about, because you can't control that. You can't control what another club does.

"You want to stop another club winning a trophy? Win it yourselves!

"That's the answer. That doesn't mean you don't want them to lose. I get that absolutely.

"I felt that living up there that as much as people were happy we were winning, they were just as happy with the other mob losing. So I get that.

"But the notion of not wanting to win for any reason? I can't understand it. So I don't think it's the right mentality to have.

"If you want to be successful you just worry about yourself. The best just worry about themselves.

"Hate my rivals, I want them to lose, but all I'm concerned about is myself. “But I didn't hear anyone say that last week. All I heard was that it's okay to feel that way and say that it's understandable.

"So part of me thinks I am kind of on the outside on the subject, and I did get it wrong. But I won't change. Like I said, I'm fully respectful about you, but I'm firmly on the other side of, you know, I just think you worry about yourself.

"What I'm hoping I can do is like I did at Celtic, provide a platform where the fans get what they want.

“And if I can give the fans what they really want. Because as much as they may say, 'Well, you know, they're ecstatic if their greatest rival doesn't win something - what they really want is success'.

“That's what it boils down to. So I can give them success, then maybe I can sort of drive that message a little bit better."