Ange Postecoglou: Tottenham defeat to Man City my 'worst experience as a football manager'

Ange Postecoglou: Tottenham defeat to Man City my 'worst experience as a football manager'

Ange Postecoglou says Tottenham's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City was his "worst experience as a football manager" and has admitted he misjudged supporter sentiment around the game.

Spurs' hopes of a top-four finish were ended by the champions-elect in a subdued atmosphere on Tuesday night, with the majority of the home fans conflicted about their side getting a result which would have left the title in rivals Arsenal's hands.

Postecoglou revealed the situation left him in "cold sweats" that his integrity would be questioned in the event of a heavy defeat to Pep Guardiola's side.

The Australian said: "That is probably the worst experience I’ve had as a football manager in a game.

I hold my hands up, I got it wrong. I sat here the day before and I mocked the whole thing because I really didn't believe that was the case

Postecoglou on Spurs fans being happy losing to Man City

"Because once I realised that I got it wrong in terms of what the atmosphere was going to be like and what people felt, I got a real anxiety within me of what happens if Man City, who are the best team in the world and who were disposing of teams quite easily in the lead-up, four at Brighton, wherever they played they scored 15, 16 goals in the last four games, what if we play as well as they can but they beat us 5-0.

“I got in cold sweats thinking about people questioning my integrity and the people I work with. Even watching the game back, there was a comment somebody mentioned to me in commentary saying, ‘Tottenham are having a real go here.’

"You are laughing about it, but that is 26 years of my life. If nothing else people should know about me, I love this game. I’m very principled.

"I would hate to think, as Manchester City could have done to us, we are on the end of a heavy defeat and people would be questioning whether I prepared the team. "And before people say ‘that’s not going to happen’, we know on social media that would have happened. 100 per cent. And I would be up here trying to defend myself.”

Before the game, Postecoglou had bullishly dismissed the prospect of fans feeling conflicted about the result but he admitted to being mistaken, and said he would approach the situation different if he had his time again or in the unlikely event of a repeat in future.

Postecoglou insisted his view that fans should never root against his team had not changed, however.

"I hold my hands up, I got it wrong. I sat here the day before and I mocked the whole thing because I really didn't believe that was the case," Postecoglou said. "But if that's how people feel and again I can't because I am not a Spurs supporter. They are and this is their football club.

"They are the custodians, not me. All I can say is offer my opinion of what you need to be successful and for me you can't be successful if your motivations change depending on the contest. You have got to win all the team.

"If you are playing your brother, you have got to fight to the death. He's still your brother, but you've got to fight to the death to win. That's just been me my whole career.

"It wasn't just a Spurs supporter thing. Everyone I heard was saying the same thing and that they understand how they feel. The same way they understand how they feel, well I don't understand because I am totally different.

"I just can't think of anything worse than not going all in on victory every time we're out there, but that's me."

During the game, Postecoglou clashed with a supporter, who the head coach said was using abusive language, behind the dugout after Spurs had fallen behind to the first of Erling Haaland's goals.

The supporter was ejected from the ground but Postecoglou said he would be welcome to come back and express his opinions in future, provided he remained civil.

"If you’re going to sit behind the bench, especially in a home game, you've got to be respectful, you’re in earshot of the most important people," Postecoglou said.

"He wasn’t happy we just conceded a goal, so I turned around to find out what his problem was and he used language that he shouldn’t and he was abusive and if I hear that I don’t care who it is I will deal with it.

 (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)
(Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

"But he is more than welcome to come back next time and take his seat up and express his opinions. If he swears, if he is abusive, he will cop the same treatment from me again. But at the same time you also feel ‘well, mate, I cop it at opposition grounds every week give me a break at my home ground."

Postecoglou - whose side finish the season at Sheffield United on Sunday, needing a point to guarantee fifth place - reacted furiously to the City defeat, afterwards describing Spurs' foundations as "pretty fragile".

But he said the fallout from the game had not dimmed his desire to be a success at the club.

"I’ve been determined since day one, that hasn’t changed," he said. "I haven’t been deterred if that’s what people were worried about. Certainly not.

"I think when you accept a role you accept the challenge of that role, and nothing that’s happened in the last few weeks has changed my view of how we go about that. I also believe that you have to know where you’re at. No point kidding yourselves that you’re somewhere you’re not because then you can’t improve."