Home Sport Spurs still a work in progress but ‘heading in right direction’

Spurs still a work in progress but ‘heading in right direction’

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Tottenham Hotspur dominated the game against West Ham with 68% possession, but the hosts created almost as many chances in an end-to-end encounter that had fans on the edge of their seats as the London rivals did battle in the pouring rain at the London Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou. Picture: EPA-EFE, ADAM VAUGHAN

Tottenham Hotspur are still a work in progress, but there are encouraging signs they are heading in the right direction, said manager Ange Postecoglou whose side put on a mature performance in a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Tuesday night.

His Spurs team dominated the game with 68% possession, but the hosts created almost as many chances in an end-to-end encounter that had fans on the edge of their seats as the London rivals did battle in the pouring rain at the London Stadium. “The players are showing a real willingness to learn,” Postecoglou said of a Spurs team that were thrashed 3-0 at Fulham in their last away game.

“I thought today against a tough opponent, their play was quite mature,” he told reporters.

“I’m always looking for a performance that shows we’re developing. I thought it was better than Fulham, similar type of game, didn’t handle well.

“Tonight, especially in our general play and organisation, I thought Biss (midfielder Yves Bissouma) was outstanding, and the back four handled four players who will cause any team problems.

“I thought there was more structural maturity than against Fulham. We want to win, but there’s enough to say that it’s a team still heading in the right direction.”

Tottenham are battling for a place in the top four and Champions League football, although Postecoglou prefers to focus on the development of his side rather than where they finish the season.

Brennan Johnson gave Spurs an early lead, and they could have scored through Pedro Porro and captain Son Heung-min.

But Kurt Zouma equalised with an effort off his back after 19 minutes from a corner, and that gave West Ham more heart for the fight.

“We obviously conceded from a set piece, but we still handled the rest of the set pieces really well, considering they’re a big side and the delivery,” added Postecoglou.

“Just probably for us in their final third, we lacked a little clarity in thought, in our decision-making. We got in some good areas, and probably could have got some much better outcomes. I thought our general play was really good, and I was really happy with it.”

Tottenham face even more difficult challenges in the run-in with games against title contenders Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool, but Villa also have to play the top three, so the race for the fourth spot is likely to go down to the wire.

Meanwhile, Manchester United defenders Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof have been ruled out of action for at least a month due to muscle injuries.

Argentine World Cup winner Martinez’s season has been decimated by a series of injuries.The former Ajax man picked up a calf problem when making his return from a long-term knee issue as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brentford.

Martinez had replaced Lindelof after the Swede picked up a hamstring injury.

A difficult second season for United boss Erik ten Hag has been blighted by the consistent loss of key players to injury.

The Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League, 11 points off the top four with nine games remaining, and will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

Martinez and Lindelof are also set to miss the FA Cup semi-final against Coventry later this month.

Reuters, AFP

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