Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to appoint Ange Postecoglou as their manager this summer raised plenty of eyebrows across the football world.
While the Australian had achieved plenty of success during his career, his detractors questioned the merits of the leagues he previously worked in.
Postecoglou most recent role was with Celtic in the Scottish Premiership – a league famed for producing a two-team title race every season. However, the style of play he implemented with the Hoops suggested this was a manager whose coaching methods deserved plenty of respect.
Tottenham were clearly impressed with Postecoglou’s efforts, handing him a four-year contract this summer in the hope he could turn their fortunes around.
Despite being one of the so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs in England, the London outfit have never won the title during the Premier League era. Their most recent success was the League Cup in 2007/08 – a sorry statistic for a club of their stature.
Having finished eighth in the Premier League last season, Tottenham were written off by online bookmakers in the ante-post market for this year’s title. Several leading betting agencies that operates in Australia for example rate them as 51.00 shots to claim top spot – odds which gave them little chance of lifting the trophy.
However, after a promising start to the new campaign, Tottenham’s title odds have been cut to as low as 21.00 by numerous sportsbooks. While it would still be a surprise if they got the job done, the bookies have clearly been impressed with Postecoglou’s efforts.
Four wins and a draw from their first five league games have fired Tottenham up to second in the table, just two points behind reigning champions Manchester City. Fans are undoubtedly delighted with the results, but the manner of their performances have been equally eye-catching.
After drawing their season opener at Brentford, Postecoglou’s side produced a dominant display in their first home match to defeat Manchester United. Subsequent away victories over Bournemouth and Burnley continued Tottenham’s good start.
Things threatened to go pear-shaped in their most recent outing against Sheffield United, with the newly-promoted side proving extremely troublesome last weekend. The Blades took the lead in the 73rd minute and looked to be on their way to an unexpected victory heading into stoppage time.
Tottenham kept probing and were rewarded as goals by Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevksi turned the game on its head. Credit for the result must go to Postecoglou as this was undoubtedly a game Spurs would have lost last season.
Richarlison’s goal was particularly noteworthy given the Brazilian international’s recent admission that he has been struggling with his mental health.
Postecoglou demonstrated his famed man-management skills in the run-up to the game against the Blades by offering his support to the troubled forward. His compassion paid immediate dividends, as Richarlison sparked Tottenham back into life last Saturday.
The manager’s ability to recognise that players sometimes need an arm placing around their shoulders will likely work wonders with Richarlison. He has struggled since his big-money move from Everton, but looks a good bet to rediscover his best form under Postecoglou.
Having seen prolific striker Harry Kane jump ship to Bayern Munich this summer, Tottenham fans could have been forgiven for worrying about how their team would perform this season.
However, the early evidence suggests Spurs will be a better all-round team without the England captain, particularly with Postecoglou pulling the strings.
Mounting a sustained challenge for the Premier League is probably too much to ask, but winning the FA Cup is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Odds of 12/1 will tempt punters looking for a bit of value and they may well have cause to thank Postecoglou at the end of the season.