Football News

Ange Postecoglou surpasses one of the managers he’s most grateful to as Tottenham beat Fulham

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:00, 23 October 2023

Ange Postecoglou etched his name into the Premier League record books after Tottenham ran out 2-0 winners over Fulham this evening.

The well-travelled Australian tactician ultimately succeded Antonio Conte as Spurs’ permanent head coach in the summer but that didn’t come without some eyebrows being raised.

His job wasn’t made easy with Harry Kane, easily the club’s most valuable player last term, departing for Bayern Munich on top of turning good ship Tottenham around following a disappointing 2022/23 campaign where they finished eighth and 11 points below the Champions League places.

Postecoglou, who built a reputation as a forward-thinking and proactive modern coach in his native land and Japan, ruled Scotland’s top flight with an iron fist as Celtic won back-to-back Scottish Premiership crowns. It was a good enough resume for Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy who in recent years became enamoured with high-profile names only to bite him on the backside.

Mauricio Pochettino, arguably the club’s most successful head coach this century, was cut from the same cloth as Postecoglou but even he never started his Premier League stint this emphatically.

Postecoglou, who has to date won both of this season’s Premier League Manager of the Month awards, is a record-breaker. He once again witnessed Son Heung-Min and summer acquisition James Maddison finding the net. In fact, a word on this dynamic duo. Since opening their stadium in April 2019, Son has netted 50 goals at the ground in all competitions with only Mohamed Salah (65 at Anfield) and Harry Kane (62 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) scoring more among Premier League players at a single venue.

On top of that, from his debut season(2015/16) onwards he’s both scored and assisted in 23 different games, only Mohamed Salah (26) has done so in more different games. Maddison is starting to look every bit the astute piece of business. He now has posted 83 goal involvements since making his first Premier League appearance in 2018/19 (46 goals and 37 assists), the only midfielder with more in that time is Kevin De Bruyne (101).

Spurs were never really threatened as they cruised to claiming three more points. It lifted them above defending champions Manchester City to sit atop the young Premier League table and in doing so enabled Postecoglou to break the record for most points gained by a manager in their first nine Premier League matches (23), a record previously shared by Mike Walker and Guus Hiddink (both 22).

Hiddink routinely performed fire-fighting duties at Chelsea and from afar inspired Postecoglou while in charge of the Socceroos as it was under his leadership they made a first World Cup finals appearance.

Both recently met up with Graham Arnold’s squad ahead of their meeting with England during which Postecoglou referring to Hiddink said: “Be grateful to the great man for the difference he made to Australian football.”

The feeling is likely mutual as Postecoglou continues to have supporters dreaming. Tottenham’s haul of 23 points from nine games this season is their second-best total at this stage of a top-flight campaign in their history, bettered only by 1960/61’s 27 (3 pts for a win), their last title-winning season.