Tottenham have enjoyed their best start to a league campaign since they won the First Division in 1960/61, and Ange Postecoglou puts much of it down to setting the right culture and environment at the club.
The club’s flying start came as somewhat of a shock after they sold star striker Harry Kane to Bayern Munich for £100m.
James Maddison, Dejan Kulusevski, Pedro Porro, Micky van de Ven and Guglielmo Vicario were all brought in on permanent deals whilst Son Heung-min has taken on Kane’s No. 9 role at times.
To Postecoglou – who made a summer switch of his own from Celtic to Spurs – the team’s success is largely down to a strict recruitment process.
“It’s everything for me,” Postecoglou told TNT Sports about recruiting players with the right character.
“One wrong character in your dressing room is a lot of problems. I will always forsake the quality of a player for the right character.
“When you’re working at this level – I know the fees we pay these days are ridiculous – I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between the best quality and the next level, it’s really small. But the character makes the big jump. I put a lot of stock in that.
“There are plenty of deals I’ve walked away from where I didn’t get that feeling that this person – not because I didn’t like the person – but he doesn’t want to come for the right reasons, they need to come for the right reasons.
“I try and make it conversational and you see where the conversation goes. It’s the ones where you just see it in them, with everything they say, that nothing is as important to them, they just want to be at the club.
“When I spoke to Vicario, Van de Ven or even Madders [Maddison] for that case, it was like ‘I want to play for Tottenham. I want to play. I want to play for you guys.’ When you hear that in their voice that’s the best starting point for me.”
Explaining further how he sets the culture at the club, Postecoglou said: “I have a simple definition for that. Culture is people, right? It starts with me and my behaviours, what I say, what I do, and the way I speak to people.
“Those kinds of things are really important I think, because what I say is not as important as how I behave. And then you try and get the right people, and I’ve had times when I’ve walked in and experienced players that haven’t bought into it and that’s kind of lengthened that process and I’ve had to move them out.
“So, it comes back to the people we forget. ‘He’s a great coach’, yeah but if he’s not the right kind of bloke for my environment, it’s not going to work. It doesn’t matter.”
One player Postecoglou has been able to rely on to lead by example is Son, who was made the new captain ahead of the current campaign.
Son has not only taken over Kane’s role as skipper and slotted into his position, but he has also taken over Kane’s regular status as the club’s top scorer with eight goals.
This puts him behind only Erling Haaland and level with Mohamed Salah in the league goal charts, which is a product of his hard work up front according to Postecoglou.
“Part of it is his own appetite to really do it, he’s just got this real thirst for working hard,” he said about Son buying into the new project at Spurs. “It’s part of who he is as a person.
“In terms of how can you get those players to run, the information to Sonny, to Madders, Richy [Richarlison], Deccy [Kulusevski], whoever is there. You work hard here [in those areas], who’s gonna benefit from that? It’s not going to be [Cristian] Romero and Van de Ven, the person it will benefit is you [Son]. You’ll get goals if you work hard here.
“For us, it’s about working hard [up front] and Sonny’s got it in him because he has a real team ethos, he knows it’s good for the team and he’s the one that has the quality to score.
“That’s great for me because when we do the feedback, I say ‘This is gold’, and the rest of them see that and think ‘I want a bit of that as well’.”
How to watch Wolves v Tottenham?
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