Neville: Ange is a guy to get behind, Spurs must back him

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Neville: Ange is a guy to get behind, Spurs must back him

Gary Neville insisted Tottenham must keep faith with under-fire head coach Ange Postecoglou and back him in the transfer market after their 4-2 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

Spurs have now lost four consecutive Premier League games for the first time in 20 years, leaving their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League this season in tatters.

The heavy loss at Anfield featured in-fighting among players, with Emerson Royal and Cristian Romero having to be separated while walking towards the tunnel at half-time.

Spurs now sit seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa with only three games left, their season at risk of collapsing completely after a positive start following Postecoglou’s appointment.

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Highlights from Liverpool’s match against Tottenham in the Premier League

Neville believes the Australian is still the right man for the job, though, and that he needs to be backed to overhaul the squad in order to implement his playing style more effectively.

“I don’t know whether there’s a little bit of fatigue or a little bit of a disconnect at the end,” he said of Tottenham’s late-season slump on The Gary Neville Podcast.

“The manager looks – and I say this in a respectful manner – like he has a little less faith in them during this period than he did at the start of season.

“That’s natural when they’re not quite doing what he wants them to do.

“When Spurs play the way they play under Ange Postecoglou, it’s high tempo or nothing, when it looks really bad. There’s no in between.

“It’s like Liverpool have been in the past seven or eight years. I think when Liverpool are at their best is when they’re really electric.


“It’s the same with Spurs and when it’s not there, it really stands out more than it does with other teams.

“So I think that’s what he’ll be a little annoyed with in the last couple of weeks and he’ll be thinking already, ‘Who’s going to be on the bus next season and who’s not?’

“What type of players is he going to sign at the end of the season? One thing he’s not going to do is give up on his values and principles – he’s going to play his way – so he’s going to bring in players that play his way.

“I hope the club really back him because this is a guy to get behind. The last four years have really been a drain at Spurs – sometimes you’ve watched them and thought you know what you’re going to get, but it isn’t Spurs.

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Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal clashed at half-time when Spurs were 2-0 down, with Guglielmo Vicario separating the pair

“Spurs have got a style, character and personality as a football club – an arrogance in the way they play – and he brings all those things.

“They should invest in that. I know they finished fourth and second at times in the last seven or eight years but the fans should be really happy with how they’re finishing fifth.

“Sometimes for a football fan, it’s how you finish fifth, it’s how you lose, because you know you’re going to have good times. He has brought highs this season.”

Keane: Give the man a chance

Roy Keane agreed with Neville in that Postecoglou should be given more time but insisted he faces a battle to change perceptions of Spurs being a soft touch.

“Rightly or wrongly, we are reflecting on the last three, four or five games. But if you think back to the start of the season, there were big challenges for him,” said Keane.


“He was new to the Premier League, there were question marks over his CV, which was unfair. But he has had a pretty decent season.

“It’s just over the last few games where they have fallen away. You start analysing Spurs and the perception of Spurs is that there is always a softness to them. He has got to try and change that.

“He will look back on some positives at the end of the season, but to get to the next level, when you finish fifth or sixth, that next step of competing and getting into the Champions League is the hardest step. But give the man a chance.”

Redknapp: Transfer market won’t be easy

Jamie Redknapp, meanwhile, insisted Postecoglou will have to start next season strongly if he is to continue at the club and warned that he is unlikely to benefit from the kind of spending power that helped rivals Arsenal sign Declan Rice last year.

“There have been real positives,” said Redknapp of Postecoglou’s first season. “At the start of the year, it was excellent.

“I remember when they beat Aston Villa 4-0, I thought they were certainties to get in the top four. But the following week they lost to Fulham, 3-0, then completely fell apart.

Heung-min Son celebrates after Spurs cut Liverpool's four-goal lead in half

Image: Heung-Min Son pulled a goal back for Tottenham against Liverpool

“If you look at this period of the last few games, they have been 4-0 down at Newcastle, 3-0 down at Arsenal, 4-0 down today at Liverpool.

“That’s not sustainable. It’s not good enough and it can’t happen at this level because you will keep getting chinned.

“Next year, what happens in terms of the players they want to buy?

“You Look at Arsenal last summer. They knew what they needed. They said, ‘Let’s get Declan Rice in and really have a right go.’ That’s what they do.

“Whereas, with Spurs, that will never be the case. It’s always going to be a bit more difficult. Ange is going to find that hard.

“I still believe he is a good manager for the club but he has got to make sure he starts well next year.”

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