Glenn Hoddle has expressed his reservations about Ange Postecoglou’s unyielding tactics, especially his insistence on playing a high defensive line even when Tottenham were reduced to nine players in their match against Chelsea.
In a frantic encounter, Tottenham found themselves down to nine men due to red cards issued to Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie in their clash with London rivals Chelsea. This game marked the return of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who aimed to outdo his previous club.
Despite being at a numerical disadvantage, Postecoglou directed his players to continue with a free-flowing attacking style of football. This approach left Tottenham’s makeshift defense vulnerable to significant exposure.
The match ended with Chelsea prevailing 4-1, with two late goals from Nicolas Jackson in injury time. This outcome has prompted questions about whether Postecoglou should have adopted a different approach.
One of the voices of dissent, Glenn Hoddle, who is a Tottenham legend, urged Postecoglou to display greater adaptability, particularly when his team is facing challenging circumstances.
Hoddle pointed out that playing with a high defensive line, near the halfway line, while having ten players is unwise. It makes it difficult to apply pressure on the ball and exposes the team to counterattacks. He suggested that Tottenham needed to adjust their tactics in such situations.
The approach taken by Postecoglou in the game has sparked debates among fans. Some believe it was an act of bravery, while others view it as naivety in the face of a harsh defeat.
Postecoglou, however, remains steadfast in his tactical choices, stating that this style of play is integral to his team’s identity and will continue as long as he is in charge.
Reflecting on the match, Postecoglou acknowledged the game’s chaotic nature, with the red card for Romero disrupting the flow. He expressed his frustration with the increased use of VAR and how it often leads to excessive waiting during matches.
He emphasized the importance of accepting the referee’s decisions and lamented the erosion of the referee’s authority due to the intervention of VAR. Postecoglou believes the game is heading in a direction where decisions are influenced by individuals watching screens from a distance.
In the midst of these discussions, he also explained James Maddison’s substitution in the first half, citing an ankle knock and the need to make tactical adjustments given their reduced numbers.
He also urged Premier League managers, including himself, to respect the officials and not attempt to manipulate the rules.