Ange Postecoglou: Tottenham a long way off winning league but we can grow

Ange Postecoglou has acknowledged Tottenham are a long way off being able to challenge for the Premier League title but believes the squad will grow from the current pain they feel.

Spurs suffered a third consecutive defeat on Thursday night in losing 2-0 at Chelsea, which followed a 3-2 reverse at home to Arsenal last Sunday and a four-goal thrashing away to Newcastle midway through April.

Those results have halted Tottenham’s top-four bid and sparked questions over whether Postecoglou still remains on the right path to bring overdue success to the club.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Tottenham’s defeat at Chelsea was their third in a row (John Walton/PA)

“I think in terms of the team I want us to be we’re a fair way off, but I’m not dismissing the fact that we have to be competitive and challenge for success every year I am here.

“I’m not going to dismiss any year as just a building year. Every year is a building year to get to where we want to, but it’s also an opportunity for us to have success. As it was this year and we’ve fallen short of that.

“Every job I’ve taken has had tough bits. Sometimes at the start, sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the end.

“Nothing surprises me and it’s a necessary part of it. It’s how you grow. You don’t grow by thinking everything’s going to run smoothly. You need to go through these times and find out about yourself.”

Postecoglou has shuffled his pack in an attempt to get Spurs out of their current slump, with Yves Bissouma on the bench against Arsenal while James Maddison dropped out of the starting line-up at Chelsea.

The experienced Australian coach cut a frustrated figure at Stamford Bridge but rallied around his squad on Friday morning ahead of the next stern test against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

“I’m sure they’re hurt but it’s also part of the process. It’s not going to change, you’re not going to have less derbies next year,” Postecoglou said.

“The big games will always be big games and you need to feel the pain, but understand that that sort of intensity will always be there when you’re representing this football club.

“I don’t think anyone has shirked it and I don’t think it’s for a lack of effort or desire. But, like I said, if you haven’t been put in that situation before it’s confronting, challenging and it’s how you navigate your way through that.

“Sometimes it’s on an individual basis. My kind of role in that is always the collective, about the environment, how we can create an environment that they feel like they can embrace that challenge.

“Last night was disappointing from a defensive pressing aspect because that has been pretty consistent all year, so that was the one area I was really disappointed with. But, in general, the lads were still trying to play and embed our principles.”

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