Ange Postecoglou admits he owes Newcastle boss Eddie Howe a thank you for his unintended role in his journey to Tottenham.
Sunday will see Postecoglou and Howe go head-to-head for the first time, but back in the summer of 2021 they were the talk of Glasgow.
Howe was widely expected to take the vacant Celtic role only to turn it down following prolonged negotiations, which resulted in Postecoglou getting the nod.
The Australian never looked back and after he won five trophies during his two-year stay in Scotland, it convinced Spurs to give the 58-year-old his first opportunity to be a Premier League manager.
“Oh absolutely, sliding doors moment,” Postecoglou acknowledged.
“There’s probably been no bigger decision in me being here today than Eddie knocking back the Celtic job.
“I haven’t thanked him, I probably should.”
Postecoglou quickly took the Premier League by storm upon his arrival and guided Tottenham to the top flight summit in October, but the past six weeks has produced a five-match winless run and a growing list of absentees.
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But the experienced coach is not in the mood to panic, he insisted: “The pressure is the pressure, you know.
“It’s always there, it’s how you kind of treat it and I’ve never let it sort of guide my path or my way forward.
“For me, I don’t have a three or five year plan up my sleeve that’s guaranteed for success. What I do have is a plan that I think will get us to where we need to be.
“How long that takes? I don’t know. It depends on how we keep disciplined in staying and sticking (to) the path.
“It’s how focused you are and how committed you are to go on the path you’ve started. I’m unwavering with that, I just will not budge. I just think that’s what I believe is the best way forward.”
Injuries to Micky van de Ven and James Maddison have proved costly and while Spurs recently welcomed back Pape Sarr and Richarlison, they remain without eight first-teamers for Sunday’s match.
Newcastle boast an equally large number of players on the treatment table, which has opened the door for 17-year-old Lewis Miley, who has impressed over the past month.
Postecoglou has several of his own academy graduates involved in the squad right now and admitted he could turn to Tottenham Under-21 playmaker Jamie Donley, 18, if they continue to struggle for goals.
“It’s fair to say Newcastle are probably the only other club who have gone through anything like we have from an injury perspective. That’s going to affect every club, but I think they’ve battled through it reasonable well, very well in fact,” Postecoglou added.
“Players have an opportunity every day to show what they can do and give me food for thought in terms of selection.
“If I’m not doing it, there’s a reason why I’m not doing it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change for next week or the week after.
“Certainly Jamie, I think he’s developing. It’s benefitted him training with us regularly now.
“He’s a permanent fixture in here and within that context I think our next few games, if he keeps developing the way he is, he’ll get an opportunity in a game as well.”
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