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Ange Postecoglou: Hard work and not tricks will seal Spurs top-four spot

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Feb 2024

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Ange Postecoglou warned no magic wand will get Tottenham’s top-four tilt back on track after they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Wolves.

Spurs had returned to fourth position with a last-gasp victory over Brighton last weekend but were leapfrogged on Saturday by Aston Villa, who won at Fulham.

Joao Gomes headed Wolves into a deserved lead after 42 minutes and, while Dejan Kulusevski levelled 34 seconds after the restart for Tottenham, Gomes grabbed his second after an excellent solo run by Pedro Neto with 63 minutes on the clock.

It consigned the hosts to a frustrating defeat and they have now failed to score in the first half of their last five home matches.

“We will work hard, we’ve got two weeks to prepare for our next game (against Crystal Palace) and there’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Postecoglou insisted.

“You take the blows and you’ve got to move on irrespective of what’s happened in the past. You’ve got to make sure you’re ready for the next game.

“There’s no tricks, it’s hard work. I’m not a magician, I’m a football manager. It’s hard work which these guys have done all year.

“Like I said, we’ve got to this point which is pretty decent on the back of some hard work and that’s what we’ll keep doing.”

Spurs were without first-choice full-backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie and struggled to break Wolves down in the opening 45 minutes with home goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario making fine saves to deny Nelson Semedo and Pablo Sarabia either side of Gomes heading in a corner by Sarabia.

Tottenham came out firing after the break, like they had done in recent wins over Brentford and Brighton, with Kulusevski equalising after he dribbled past Craig Dawson and poked under Jose Sa.

Postecoglou’s team were beginning to build a head of steam but Wolves remained a threat on the break and, after Vicario denied Sarabia in the 56th minute, the visitors’ second arrived six minutes later.

Yves Bissouma lost possession after a Spurs corner and Neto carried the ball half the length of the pitch before he cut back and teed up Gomes, who slammed home for his second of the afternoon.

A raft of attacking players were thrown on by Postecoglou, but Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Toti and Neto all squandered promising positions for Wolves before Ben Davies headed wide deep into stoppage-time for Tottenham to ensure Gary O’Neil’s side completed the double over the north London outfit.

Neto’s moment of individual brilliance was his ninth assist of the campaign but his manager issued a hands off to potential suitors after they moved on to 35 points for the season.

O’Neil said: “I still want to push him and get him as close to perfect as a wide player as we can.

“Yeah, I’ve been asked a few times this week about the summer already and I’m not interested in discussing Pedro Neto leaving the football club.

“He is a fantastic player that we spent a lot of money on, that we work very hard on and as far as I’m concerned, we don’t want to lose our best players.

“We have a long way to go yet this season and then hopefully he stays with us and we can keep pushing towards the top half of the table.”

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