Spurs fans must support Postecoglou's vision more than ever before

Ange Postecoglou had built up unity between manager, squad, club, and fans, but the last six matches have strained the progress. Now is not the time to abandon the manager, though.
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley FC - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley FC - Premier League / Bryn Lennon/GettyImages

The aftermath of Tottenham's 2-0 loss against defending champions Manchester City was a bittersweet affair to most of the Spurs fanbase, but to Ange Postecoglou, it was the nadir. He had spent most of the week explaining, politely and cheerfully, that winning is more important than what happens to your rivals. The stakes of the game had been laid out in front of him: if Spurs win, they give Arsenal the advantage in the title while taking a step towards securing Champions League football. If Spurs lose, City hold the advantage heading into the final matchday, and Spurs will be confirmed for the Europa League. During the game, it felt like the home crowd was supporting the away side.

It should not surprise anyone that the Australian manager was irate with some of the fans' behavior during the buildup to and after the match. There was an argument between a fan and the boss near the dugout, causing Postecoglou to lose his cool. In his press conference, Posetcoglou kept his observations to himself but noted how the last 48 hours had been very revealing to him about the mentality of the club, inside and out.

This is not to say the fans aren't allowed to feel that way. It is natural to not want your biggest rival to succeed when your club is not at the same level yet. However, there is a line to be towed. Some people suggesting that Ange should throw the game for the sake of the rivalry did not sit well.

This was the first time Postecoglou spoke with contempt, and some compared it to the fiery words that got his predecessors Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte sacked, even though many fans agreed with some of those sentiments. This one is more complicated, though. It is draped in football tribalism. A large and loud section of Tottenham supporters believed it was better to lose the match against City. Don't give Arsenal any advantage. The cheering for Erling Haaland's goal by the home fans was shocking, nonetheless, given the stakes of the match for Spurs.

Erling Haaland, Radu Dragusin
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

It was unacceptable for Postecoglou. Many sympathized with him despite fans saying they would stick behind Ange for the final match at Sheffield United and during next season. Some, however, pointed out that the manager had said some silly things and fielded less-than-ideal lineups in the four consecutive defeats against Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. Some even went as far back as the EFL Cup match with Fulham, where Postecoglou fielded a heavily-rotated side, and Spurs went out on penalties.

Postecoglou has said he wants to win, but to do that, the club must feel the same way. The fans must feel the same way. They cannot start to question him simply because the squad has been hit by bad form and more untimely injuries. Next season is when results will start to matter more.

Now is not the time to waver. The fans must get behind Postecoglou and his vision from now into next season. The performance against City indicates tactical flexibility people thought was nonexistent in the manager. The scoring trouble remains, as a snake-bit Hueng-Min Son and Brennan Johnson could not make an impact. However, James Maddison at False 9 was a breath of fresh air. He looked as lively as his early-season self. Micky van de Ven at left-back was also spectacular. Radu Dragusin put in his best performance so far. There is a clear tactical blueprint, but now comes the little details. The club must give Postecoglou the players he wants and let him sell the ones he doesn't. The fans must support the man so he can feel like they believe in him. And they cannot root for an opposing side to beat them for the sake of avoiding rival banter.

It is understandable why the fans wanted to lose the penultimate match. However, this was a game where the season was truly on the line, and the prospect of Champions League football still being achievable should've been the main talking point. It seemed like there was too much concern about stopping Arsenal's title bid.

Unlike Mourinho and Conte, Postecoglou looks like he is willing to change the culture by any means necessary. We can't be sure how this press conference will affect his relationship with the board and the fans, but winning always seems to smooth over problems. Perhaps Daniel Levy knows that and will back his manager in the summer. The supporters must also show they support the manager. They can start by chanting his name at Bramall Lane on the final matchday.

The club cannot afford to squander a manager of this ilk again. They must embrace his winning attitude, inside and out.