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Ange Postecoglou: Tottenham boss on how attacking Bazball style of England's cricket team matches his Spurs ambitions

In an exclusive interview prior to Tottenham accepting Bayern Munich's bid for Harry Kane, Ange Postecoglou promises a season of entertainment for Spurs fans and discusses his Ashes inspiration; Watch Brentford vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm on Sunday, kick-off 2pm

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Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou heaps praise on the approach of the England cricket team and says it mirrors the attacking philosophy he will have at Spurs.

"I love Bazball mate, I think it's brilliant!"

Ange Postecoglou may be Australian but it's the freewheeling, caution-to-the-wind cricket of England which captured his imagination during this Ashes summer. It's a style and philosophy which matches up to the attacking instincts of the new Tottenham head coach.

Postecoglou was at the Lord's Test the day before officially taking charge of the north London club and he lights up when the cricket of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum are brought up in conversation at Spurs' training ground.

"In any sport, when I see teams kind of break the traditional mould, that's when people get really uneasy about it - and that's when you know, 'OK, this could be something special'", he tells Sky Sports.

"It's not guaranteed work. It could all fall to pieces and end up in tears. But when you make people uneasy and uncomfortable with what they see it probably means you're breaking new ground and I love that in anything in life.

"That's where the special stuff exists and that's the kind of space I'm in."

That attitude will be music to the ears of Spurs supporters hungry for the club to return to its traditional ethos of enjoyable football.

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Recent campaigns under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, sandwiching the short-lived Nuno Espirito Santo experiment, saw the club trade that template for a more pragmatic approach in search of a win-at-all-costs mentality. There was no silverware to show for the sacrifice.

Postecoglou is aware of those fan expectations and hopes to marry front-foot football with success, as he did at Celtic, where he delivered five trophies in two eye-catching seasons.

He is respectful of the contrasting styles of Mourinho and Conte - but they're not for him.

"That's the beauty of our game," he says. "The beauty of football is that there are so many ways you can have success, so many ways you can set up your team, so many ways you can counteract the opposition.

"I'm probably at one extreme and there are others at the other extreme and we can both have success in this game.

"I think especially with a football club like this, that has consistently looked for that in their teams, they've loved the entertainers, there's a connection there with that kind of football.

"So, if I can bring that kind of football, I think we get the supporters behind us, which is going to be super important and that energy then is transferable to the team. And then the next bit of that is to have success with it."

'I'll never try to hold onto a 1-0'

In last Sunday's friendly with Shakhtar Donetsk, Postecoglou criticised his team for trying to play for half-time and protect their 1-0 advantage in the final moments of the opening period. The Ukrainian side scored an equaliser just before the break.

But while it's easy to tell a team not to sit back in pre-season, would Postecoglou really never shut up shop in the final stages of a big match or cup competition when that success the club craves is almost within touching distance?

"No, no mate," he says, laughing out loud at the suggestion he might instruct his team to defend a 1-0 at some point this season.

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Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou says he will be different to some recent Tottenham managers and will always insist his team go for more goals.

"It's not a me sort of casting judgment because that's absolutely a legitimate way to go about things.

"But you can't do both. That perfect system doesn't exist. You're either all in one way or all in the other.

"And to be honest, I can't coach that way. I wouldn't know what to do to tell my players in the last five minutes just to hold onto a one goal lead. It's just not part of who I am and the way I coach. I get it, and it doesn't always work, but as I said, there's no system that does work.

"I think the key thing when you're a manager is that the players have clarity. If I sort of chop and change just depending on the circumstances they're going to go out there with no real clarity about where we are and what kind of team we want to be."

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Watch highlights from Tottenham's 5-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

There will inevitably be critics who will suggest what has worked for Postecoglou in Scotland, Japan and Australia won't work at the absolute elite level of the Premier League. But he has had doubters throughout his career and, with the experience of a 57-year-old, he is confident his track record of proving people wrong will continue.

"I've had success my whole career, wherever I've been by playing this way. And, you know, that's why I continue to do it," he says.

"Every time I've changed clubs, the question has always been, will I transfer to what some perceive a higher level or a different level or a different country?

"I love proving that it can - and because I've had success I see no reason to change, mate."

Has Kane's future been a distraction?

Unquestionably the start of Postecoglou's tenure has been marked by the huge story of Harry Kane's transfer situation.

The club's record scorer smashed four past Shakhtar, suggesting that despite the transfer bids from Bayern Munich his focus had remained on the football. But when Tottenham accepted an offer for the player from Bayern on Thursday Postecoglou was left to face up to a future without the record scorer.

How much of a distraction had the speculation about Kane been for Postecoglou as he tries to reshape the way this Spurs squad play?

"It's the same as every other club I've been at. The beginnings are always tough," says Postecoglou.

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Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou says he hasn't let the transfer situation of Harry Kane distract him on his new role at the club

"At Celtic, you just have to look at the first six games, we lost three of them. We were still buying players until the last day of the window. I didn't even have a core of a team, let alone missing a key player.

"I've learned to become really disciplined to make sure that I don't just focus on one thing. I don't get distracted. The most important thing right now for us is to build a team. It's not about one or two.

"If this was year two, year three of the project and the team was already playing the way I wanted to, and we've got the foundation of a really good squad and Harry['s situation] was the only thing floating about, I'd be spending a lot more time on it and it would probably be a little bit more distracting in terms of the energy I need.

"But right now, as important as Harry is to this group, what's more important for me is what I do with the group."

With Kane gone, Postecoglou will have to find an alternative in attack for Spurs' Premier League opener at Brentford on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

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His exit will surely impact the possibilities for Postecoglou's Spurs side this season.

But Postecoglou isn't intending to measure the performance of his side by points or position. He will take a gauge from the fans at the end of the campaign on whether progress has been made without their star man.

"I've never had to set a goal or target in my life because if I did, I'd probably, I probably wouldn't have achieved the success I had," says Postecoglou. "The reality of it is a lot of the success I've had has been unexpected, even by myself.

"If we get to the end of this year and our supporters are happy with our season, then I think we'll have achieved what we wanted to. What that looks like in a tangible sense - points, trophies - who knows, mate?"

Stokes and McCullum won the admiration of cricket fans without winning the Ashes series. The hope for England cricket supporters will be that those big prizes come in time. But the ride will be fun whatever happens.

Spurs fans may well feel the same going into this fresh, new season. And Postecoglou can't wait to get going.

"It's where you want to be, mate. Smack bang in the middle of it."

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