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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Nowhere near good enough: Ange Postecoglou worried Spurs are losing the faith

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Ange Postecoglou claimed responsibility for an abject Tottenham Hotspur display after their 2-0 loss at Chelsea and admitted his players looked to have lost belief in his football.

Spurs suffered a third consecutive Premier League defeat to see their top-four hopes all but ended on a painful night in west London.

Familiar problems reared their ugly heads for Tottenham, with a Trevor Chalobah header from Conor Gallagher’s 24th-minute free-kick enough to give Chelsea a deserved half-time lead, with that goal the 15th the visitors have conceded from set-pieces this season.

Chelsea made the points safe with 18 minutes left when Nicolas Jackson headed home after Cole Palmer had smashed an effort against the crossbar, but it was also tinged with embarrassment for the away side after Son Heung-min and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg ran into each other on the goal line.

Postecoglou was animated throughout the clash at Stamford Bridge and left frustrated with another disjointed display in attack, with Tottenham only able to produce three shots on target despite boasting more than 62 per cent possession.

“I feel like we’ve lost a bit of belief and conviction in our football and that is on me to change that. It wasn’t about conceding the (first) goal, it was our approach to playing football and we were nowhere near good enough,” Postecoglou reflected.

“It wasn’t a great night and it’s fair to say we didn’t play anywhere near the sort of football and didn’t have the mindset that I expect us to have. That’s on me and I’ve got to take responsibility for that ultimately.

“I’m the one who is putting them out there and preparing them for it. We were so far off it and I’ve got to look at myself and see how I’m preparing this team for it.

“Like I said, we lacked a real sort of conviction and positive mindset in our football.

“We didn’t really have any fluency, any sort of aggression with and without the ball. It’s a bit unlike us because if nothing else we’ve always been competitive, especially in the first half it was missing.”

After Postecoglou had faced a number of questions about set-pieces on Wednesday, after they let in two goals from corners against Arsenal, he could only watch on in horror as Chalobah was left unmarked at the back post and able to steer Gallagher’s cross beyond Guglielmo Vicario.

It continued a worrying trend for Tottenham of shipping goals from set-pieces, but Chelsea could have already been in front after Micky van de Ven had to clear Jackson’s shot off the line, while Alfie Gilchrist and Noni Madueke fired efforts over.

Cole Palmer was next to go close after the break when he curled off target before the crucial second did arrive for the hosts.

Palmer smashed a free-kick against the crossbar and Jackson reacted quickest to score his 14th goal of the campaign, which includes four against Spurs.

Victory for Chelsea raises the prospect of a late charge for European football after they moved two points behind seventh-placed Newcastle.

Mauricio Pochettino admitted: “I think for me it’s the best game. Maybe not the best, but I’m the most happy I am after.

“Because in the way we play, the way we compete, that is what we wanted from the beginning of the season.

“Of course today we were so competitive and in this way we can grow, we can do better and improve in all areas.

“In the last few weeks we are trying to find the balance and people start to realise sometimes it is a process.”

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