Ange Postecoglou: ‘Injuries not to blame for Wolves defeat’

Ange Postecoglou insists that Tottenham Hotspur cannot use injuries as an excuse for their 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou refused to point the finger at injuries following his side’s dampening 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in North London.

The Lilywhites suffered three successive league defeats to the West Midlands outfit for the first time ever on Saturday, as Gary O’Neil‘s men executed another counter-attacking display to perfection.

As was the case in their 4-2 beating of Chelsea two weekends ago, Wolves waited for the right moment to strike and went into half time a goal to the good thanks to a looping Joao Gomes header.

Tottenham’s attacking display in the first half left a lot to be desired, but they were level within just one minute of the second period, as Dejan Kulusevski poked the ball through Jose Sa‘s legs at the Portuguese’s near post after Wolves failed to deal with a long throw into the box.

However, Spurs’ reprieve was short-lived as Wolves turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye in the 63rd minute, culminating in Pedro Neto teeing up Gomes to side-foot home his second of the afternoon.

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min looks dejected on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Tottenham failed to fashion any meaningful opportunities to equalise for a second time and were evidently harmed by the absences of full-backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie, who missed out due to strain and knee injuries respectively.

Manor Solomon and Ryan Sessegnon‘s absences also restricted Spurs’ wide options, but speaking to the press after the game – as quoted by football.london – Postecoglou insisted that injuries were not to blame for his side’s defeat.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year, we’ve certainly performed better than that when we have had injuries. So I don’t think that’s the reason. Like I said our general level of performance wasn’t where it should be,” the Australian said.

“That’s probably been the last couple of home games we haven’t, in the beginning of the year we did, we’re not doing anything different. Sometimes it’s the mindset going into games, sometimes it’s the opposition, sometimes it’s just the context of the football game

“Certainly for us to kind of dominate games like we want to, it does mean we need to start aggressively, and try and put the opposition on the back foot. And we haven’t really done that last two or three games. Before that we were doing that, and that gave us a foothold in games that we’re not getting at the moment.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Joao Gomes celebrates scoring their first goal on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Not since the 2009-10 season had Wolves managed to beat Tottenham twice in a single Premier League campaign, and Spurs’ loss coupled with Aston Villa’s success over Fulham saw the Lilywhites drop out of the top four of the Premier League table.

Tottenham were scheduled to face Chelsea in a London derby next weekend, but with the Blues scrapping with Liverpool in the EFL Cup final, Postecoglou’s men will not be back in action until March 2, when they host Crystal Palace.

The former Celtic boss played down suggestions that the two-week hiatus will be a “blessing”, though, and he also shot down the notion that he is a “magician” capable of conjuring up tricks to get Spurs back to their best.

“There’s no tricks, it’s hard work. I’m not a magician, I’m a football manager. It’s hard work which these guys have done all year. Like I said, we’ve got to this point which is pretty decent on the back of some hard work and that’s what we’ll keep doing,” Postecoglou added.

Meanwhile, Wolves boss O’Neil professed that his team should have put the game to bed earlier against Tottenham, who had won five home games on the spin before falling to their visitors’ superiority.

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