‘Pretty special’ but Ange may not be back

Tottenham Hotspur FC v Newcastle United FC

Ange Postecoglou felt “blessed” to bring Tottenham Hotspur to his hometown but Newcastle United coach Eddie Howe isn’t keen on the idea of his club travelling to Australia again in the future for another two-match post-season hitout.

Just three days after the English Premier League season ended, the two teams flew all the way to Melbourne for a match which ended with a penalty shootout victory for Newcastle in the friendly at the MCG on Wednesday night.

Spurs players were “straight on a plane” after the clash, with Postecoglou set for some catch-up time with family before a holiday in Greece.

But the Newcastle outfit are hanging around for a Friday clash with the A-League All Stars and while Howe did appreciate the positive aspects of Newcastle’s trip to Australia said the travel factor at the end of a long season for an extra two games wasn’t something players look forward to.

“It’s been different,” Howe said.

“I mean, the journey here was something I’ve never experienced before. I wouldn’t say I’d want to do it again necessarily, especially playing a game so quickly after landing.

“The players have done incredibly well to perform in the way that they did today after that.

Tottenham Hotspur FC v Newcastle United FC
Ange Postecoglou, c speaks with Newcastle United FC coach, Eddie Howe at the MCG. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“The travel is just something that I don’t think any professional sportsperson who has to then perform a couple of days later really wants to take on.

“The game today was slower than it would be in the Premier League. That’s obvious. There was less attacking play because the players don’t want to sprint after such a long journey.”

Howe didn’t think a longer break between the end of the EPL season and another potential tour Down Under was a solution either.

“If you extend it and make the break bigger, then the players lose time and they’ve got their countries’ tournaments ahead,” he said in reference to the Euros and Copa America which start on June 15 and June 21 respectively.

“Some will want to go on their holidays and start to switch off from football for a period of time because the season comes round very quickly and they’ve got another long season ahead of them.”

The match at the MCG on Wednesday night, which drew a healthy crowd of almost 80,000, capped off an unforgettable 12 months for former Socceroos boss Postecoglou as he made the transition from Scottish giants Celtic to become the first Australian manager in EPL history.

“I guess the last sort of few years have kind of moved along, it seems like, pretty rapidly to where I am today,” Postecoglou said.

“But it was nice tonight because it wasn’t that long ago in an alternate universe I would’ve been on the other side of the fence watching the game, because that was my kind of existence for a very long time.

“So to be in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world, to bring them back to my hometown and in front of 80,000, yeah, it’s pretty special.”