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Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky: Ange Postecoglou playing long game but needs result to restore belief in principles

Tottenham have received plenty of plaudits but following a five-game winless run, they need a statement win for Ange Postecoglou to restore belief; Watch Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday, kick-off 4.30pm

Tottenham host Newcastle live on Sky Sports
Image: Ange Postecoglou's style is high-risk, high-reward

Poor Reece.

During Thursday's episode of Deal or No Deal, the not-so-lucky contestant in the chair became the first to join the 1p Club since ITV's reboot.

Reece, an avid coin collector, brought a rare Kew Gardens 50p his dad had given him during the coronavirus pandemic with his No 4 box to the hot seat.

But despite several good offers from the banker - which rose incrementally to £8,000 - and warnings from his co-stars and partner, the male nurse refused to deal.

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Ange Postecoglou insists he is committed to his football philosophy and believes his approach will bring success to Tottenham

It was thrillingly entertaining - courageous, some would say. For the £25,000 bounty remained unopened.

And yet for poor Reece, his gambling didn't pay off.

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Stephen Mulhern hailed him as a brilliant contestant despite watching his dream of a new car and a trip to New York slip through his fingers. "Listen, it's a good job you collect coins," before presenting him with a one pence piece from his pocket emblazoned with his own face.

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The episode aired a few hours before Ange Postecoglou sent his side out to face West Ham. You can see where this is going.

The Australian revealed this week he enjoys playing Football Manager in his free time - and has taken Southend United all the way to the Champions League.

But watching his Tottenham side this term, you wonder if Postecoglou is not only a fantasist but also a regular watcher of the popular daytime TV show. For both he and Reece prefer to play the long game, even if it all ends in glorious defeat.

Tottenham have not kept a clean sheet since the start of November
Image: Tottenham have not kept a clean sheet since the start of November

Hours later, after David Moyes had finally ended his 39-game winless away run against the Premier League's traditional top six, his words echoed those of Mulhern.

"I said before the game and I still believe it to be the case. I think Tottenham are as good as any side in the Premier League at the moment," said the Hammers boss.

For so long earlier in the campaign, Spurs passed the eye test. You could see Postecoglou's strategy writ large all over his team. He boasted the best points return (26 of a possible 30) of any new Premier League manager after 10 games.

Postecoglou deservedly won the first three manager of the month awards. It was the manner of those early successes which breathed life back into Tottenham, after Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte had taken them so far away from the club's DNA.

But during the past five games, exacerbated by their well-documented injury crisis, the imperfection of their beauty has been brutally exposed. No Tottenham manager can ever be immune from criticism, however much of an impact they may have during an opening six-month period.

Tottenham’s season has capitulated since Micky Van De Ven was subbed in first-half stoppage time with a hamstring  injury during the home defeat against Chelsea
Image: Tottenham’s season has capitulated since Micky Van De Ven was subbed in first-half stoppage time with a hamstring injury during the home defeat against Chelsea

Tottenham's autumn falls

  • Tottenham have yet to win a PL game since the start of November (D1 L4). They won each of their first 10 Premier League games this season, a run that saw Ange Postecoglou named manager of the month in August, September and October.
  • Their last five games could barely have been more incident-filled – they have scored first in all five games, leading for a total of 183 minutes and trailing for 108 minutes.
  • They have conceded four stoppage-time goals in these games – twice in the home defeat vs Chelsea when they were reduced to nine men, and twice at Wolves that saw then relinquish a 1-0 lead they had held since the fourth minute.
  • No team have conceded more PL goals or faced a higher xG than Tottenham since the start of November – they have conceded 2+ goals in all 5 PL games in that period.

On Thursday, Postecoglou stood motionless on the pitch as Tottenham suffered three successive home Premier League games for the first time since September 2008.

It extended their winless run to five matches despite them taking the lead in each of those fixtures, which is a new Premier League record but Postecoglou urged them to bounce back on Sunday when Newcastle visit north London, live on Sky Sports.

"There's no point in feeling sorry for ourselves, looking for a cuddle anywhere," he insisted.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Tottenham and West Ham

"There's only one way to change our circumstances and that is to come here on Sunday and put in a performance. Not just play good football but go out there and show some conviction about ourselves as a team.

"Sometimes we can disguise how we're going by playing some nice stuff but like I said from day one, that's not what I'm about. I want to win and that's why I came to this football club and that's the message.

"We've still got a long way to go, I've said that from the start. We're still right at the beginning of what we need to create and days like today just give me further evidence and fuel of how much we need to do."

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Sky Sports' Michael Bridge and Ben Grounds analyse Tottenham's 2-1 defeat to West Ham which continued their poor run of form and dropped them further down the table

Postecoglou refuses to budge on his principles - and his opponents wouldn't want it any other way.

Before the West Ham defeat, Tottenham were averaging two goals a game in the league, but they have now conceded 13 in five matches, which have yielded a single point. Their frailties are inseparable from their talent.

It is hard to imagine this Tottenham winning ugly - but against a Newcastle side smarting from their own damaging midweek defeat at Everton, winning is all that matters. Spurs must be bold and efficient in equal measure; now is not the time to feel sorry for themselves.

"If you are looking for things that will be disruptive, you can use that as a clutch or an excuse for anything," added Postecoglou.

Tottenham have conceded 13 goals in their last five Premier League games
Image: Tottenham have conceded 13 goals in their last five Premier League games

"We lost Harry Kane the day before the season started so there is a disruption, we lost half the squad after one game so there is a disruption. There will always be this.

"You can't work in a vacuum where everything is perfect and, for me, I have been relaxed in these kind of situations because I have always believed the environment will cover whatever challenges we have if we get it right."

West Ham did well to stay in the game during the first half, but in the end they saw out their victory with ease. Not only was there no conviction about Spurs, but their body language suggested even a doubt had crept in.

A sudden lack of confidence which to some observers reflected a lack of ideas.

Ange Postecoglou
Image: Postecoglou has watched his side drop 16 points from winning positions – two more than any other team

Speaking on the 3-3 draw at Manchester City, Postecoglou had said: "I don't like losing, it doesn't sit well with me and I like winning, but for me last week was not about getting a result, it is the manner in which you do it.

"While it has been three losses and the draw last week, I still think our performances are the most important thing that sustains you through that period."

Following this latest setback, there is no suggestion the Spurs boss is about to stray from his vision for success.

"I've got a clear idea about what I'm trying to do and we'll keep working methodically [towards] that and being disciplined about that.

Tottenham players look dejected at full-time
Image: Tottenham last went six games without a win under Harry Redknapp between December 2008 and January 2009

"I don't have a three or five-year plan up my sleeve that is guaranteed for success. What I do have is a plan that will get us to where we need to be.

"How long that takes, I don't know. It depends on how we keep discipline in staying the path. There will be another challenge in six months' time. It's about how committed you are to go on the path you've started.

"I'm not wavering with that, I will not budge. That's what I believe is the best way forward."

In Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon, Newcastle have the pace to expose Tottenham if they stick to playing a high line, as they did against West Ham.

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Ange Postecoglou jokes that he owes a debt of gratitude to Eddie Howe for turning down the Celtic job before he took over at the club.

Newcastle themselves are desperately searching for form away from St James' Park.

The Magpies, who won eight times on the road last season as they surged to a fourth-place finish, have collected three points away from Tyneside only once in seven attempts so far this season, courtesy of an 8-0 drubbing of Sheffield United.

Something seemingly has to give. Spurs had a point in their pocket against West Ham but risked it for all three and ended up with nothing.

They, like Reece, refused to accept an average offer and shot for the stars.

But Tottenham now need something to show for their efforts. A statement home win over fellow Champions League chasers would be the perfect way for Postecoglou to restore belief.

Watch Tottenham vs Newcastle live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday, kick-off 4.30pm

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