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Postecoglou is unlikely to snap Tottenham’s obsession with Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou was an angry man after his team’s Premier League defeat against Manchester City in May.

Spurs went into the game knowing that a victory would boost their chances of qualifying for the 2024/25 Champions League.

However, a significant section of their fans celebrated the 2-0 defeat, which damaged Arsenal’s hopes of winning the title.

The affable Australian let rip after the game, insisting he was more concerned with winning than concerning himself with the Gunners.

His anger was understandable given that he was tasked with delivering success to Tottenham by chairman Daniel Levy.

Postecoglou gives Spurs fans a reality check

As football rivalries go, the local head-to-head between Tottenham and Arsenal is one of the most fiercely fought in English football.

Famously featured on television in Danny Dyer’s Real Football Factories, it is safe to say there is no love lost between fans on both sides of the divide.

However, from the outside looking in, there is a sense that Tottenham fans have become obsessed with Arsenal to the detriment of supporting their team.

That mindset is driven by the fact that Arsenal are far more successful than Tottenham – 13 league titles compared to two for Spurs perfectly hammers that point home.

The Gunners also dominate in terms of FA Cup wins (14-8). Spurs’ last trophy was the 2007/08 League Cup – a competition no one in English football cares about.

While being overshadowed by your local rivals is no fun, Postecoglou’s comments after the Man City game were wholly justified.

Tottenham still had a chance of finishing in the top four, yet their fans barely roused themselves until the visitors got on the scoresheet. Rather than support the team, many of them mocked Arsenal’s misfortune.

Postecoglou subsequently described the foundations he had laid at the club as ‘pretty fragile’, and his withering assessment was bang on the money.

Spurs have become accustomed to failure

When reporters questioned him about the negative atmosphere during the game, the Tottenham manager could not hide his frustration.

“Of course, it does (have an impact) – it is what it is,” Postecoglou said. “I can’t dictate what people do. Yeah, when we’ve got late winners in games, it is because the crowd has helped us.

“I want to be successful at this football club – it’s why I was brought in. So, what other people – how they want to feel – and what their priorities are, are of zero interest to me.

“What other people’s priorities are doesn’t interest me. I know what we need to build a winning team and that’s what I’m concentrating on.”

Unfortunately for Postecoglou, his winning mentality is completely wasted on a club and fanbase which has become accustomed to failure.

If Tottenham had defeated Man City, they would be playing in the Champions League next season. Not featuring in that competition damages the club.

Attracting top-class players this summer is now more difficult, while revenues from the Europa League are dwarfed by what the club could have earned in the Champions League.

Some Tottenham fans attempted to defend their actions after the game, claiming that Postecoglou should take time to understand where they are coming from.

However, regardless of the bitterness of the rivalry with Arsenal, celebrating when opponents score because it damages your rivals makes little sense given what Tottenham had riding on the game.

Unfortunately for Postecoglou, snapping that mindset will likely prove impossible at a club that does not remember what it is like to win.

For all the bluster about rivalries in Dyer’s iconic television series, supporting your own team should always override any bitterness towards another club.

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