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Ange Postecoglou vs Mauricio Pochettino: Complete H2H record

When Daniel Levy publicly outlined the requirements for Tottenham Hotspur’s next manager in 2021, he revealed they needed to play “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining” football with a focus on youth.

It sounded a lot like the glory days of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign in north London. While establishing Spurs as top-four regulars in the Premier League, Pochettino – one of football’s high-pressing high priests – led Tottenham to the club’s first-ever Champions League final. Yet, within six months of the showpiece against Liverpool, Pochettino was gone and the want-ad was being sketched up.

Spurs finally seem to have found the natural heir to Pochettino in the form of Ange Postecoglou. The amiable Australian emphatically fits the bill of Levy’s stipulation for style as well as substance.

“When my teams play,” Postecoglou explained at the start of his Tottenham tenure, “I still pretend my father is watching in the grandstand. Would he be enjoying watching? That has always been the route of everything I have done.”

In the same summer Postecoglou joined Spurs, Pochettino also returned to London but to take charge of Tottenham’s fierce rivals Chelsea. Much to the chagrin of his new fanbase, Pochettino was at pains to point out that he didn’t willingly step away from Spurs in 2019 ahead of his first return to his former club.

“I didn’t decide to leave,” Pochettino insisted a little too passionately. “We parted ways because I was sacked. It’s not a criticism of the club…but we didn’t decide to leave. Maybe we would still be there.”

For Postecoglou, it may have “felt like a lot of standing around”, but a VAR-soaked barn burner was played at a breathless pace when the officials at Stockley Park weren’t in Michael Oliver’s ear.

Five disallowed goals, two red cards and one Nicolas Jackson hat-trick are only the top-line figures from a truly bonkers game. Postecoglou hailed it as a match that “is almost impossible to analyse” while Pochettino offered a straightforward synopsis. “This is football.”

In his first match against Spurs since he was sacked by the club in 2019, Pochettino spent much of a 4-1 win grimacing and wincing at his Chelsea side’s struggles to break down an outrageously high backline staffed with only nine players.

Spurs valiantly – if shambolically – kept the game level until the 75th minute. Even when Jackson put the Blues 3-1 up, Pochettino didn’t celebrate, instead hauling Thiago Silva over to the touchline to launch an inquest into how Son Heung-min had almost equalised moments earlier.

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