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Tottenham’s development slowed by lack of European football, says Ange Postecoglou

Australian aiming to make an impact in Europa League next term

Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou thinks a lack of European football this season might have stunted Tottenham’s development.

Spurs played only 41 matches in all competitions this season – joint lowest among all Premier League teams along with basement-boys Sheffield United.

They were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties after entering the competition in the second round at Fulham and, after beating Burnley in the FA Cup third round, were knocked out by Man City at the next stage.

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Spurs faced a season of transition after the departure of talisman Harry Kane to Bayern Munich on the eve of the season, and with Postecoglou trying to implement a new and unfamiliar style to players who has previously operated under the likes of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

It was the first season since 2009/10 that the club had not qualified for Europe, with six of those campaigns being in the Champions League.

Postecoglou – speaking at his press conference ahead of the friendly game with Newcastle in Melbourne, Australia – said qualifying for the Europa League was ‘the reward’ for their hard work this season.

He said: “We’re looking forward to (Europe). It’s another challenge for us and we’ll be ready for it.

“I think not having European football this year probably hurt us a little bit in terms of our development.”

“This club deserves to be in Europe and hopefully we’re going to make an impact next year,” he added.

Athens-born Postecoglou also distanced himself from suggestions he’d consider stepping away from club management to return to international football with the country of his homeland.

The 58-year-old – who won four caps as a player and later managed his naturalised home of Australia from 2013 to 2017 – told Football London: “It’s definitely in my future that you’ll see me in Greece, but it’s more likely to be on an island somewhere on a sunbed.

“I’ve got a big challenge here at Spurs and I’m looking forward to bringing some success here.

“I was born in Greece, I very much feel Greek and I’ll definitely be there this summer like I am every summer but as far as coaching goes I’m happy where I am.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.