Premier League talking points: Postecoglou sees bright future for Spurs

Elsewhere in Premier League, Newcastle aim to make it home double against Everton while Burnley target vital points against Wolves

Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou has praised captain Son Heung-min, second right, and says Richarlison, second left, should be fit to face West Ham on Tuesday. PA
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Postecoglou has one eye on the future at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur go into Tuesday's London derby with West Ham pushing for a top-four spot to guarantee Champions League football next season.

Spurs sit just three points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, who face a tough task as they travel to Manchester City on Wednesday, and have a game in hand on the Midlanders.

But, while manager Ange Postecoglou is determined that Spurs finish the season as strongly as possible, he said people should judge his team in 12 months' time.

The Australian, in his first season in charge at Tottenham, said: "We want to finish the season strong and keep building on the foundation of being a team that hopefully in 12 months' time people are looking at us differently and talking about us differently.

"To do that it can't just be about where you finish and how many points you get, it's got to be more than that. Obviously, if we finish strong then we'll finish in a decent position and we'll see where that takes us."

On developing his young team for the future, he said: "[Dejan] Kulusevski or Brennan [Johnson], Micky van de Ven or Destiny Udogie, or Pape Matar Sarr. All these guys are in their early 20s, in their first or second year in the Premier League. Our job is to improve all of them.

"In general we have a young group and that is what we keep saying – my job is to keep pushing them."

Spurs came from behind to beat Luton 2-1 on Saturday, thanks to Son Heung-min's late winner, and Postecoglou said on the decision to make Son captain: "It wasn't a big decision. I felt Son was a natural and he has been a leader within his national team. I had no hesitation putting him in that position.

"Sometimes when you get the official title it can be a burden, but his performances have been outstanding."

On the game with West Ham at the London Stadium, he said: "It's pretty much no different to the last game. Everyone got through unscathed so there's no real change, everyone's good.

"[Richarlison] was much better after the game. He trained yesterday and will train this afternoon. He feels good now."

Hammers boss David Moyes said: "Tottenham have done well this season, so it's going to be a difficult game.

"The manager has been effective, but we believe in ourselves and we'll try to reproduce the performance we put in against them in December [a 2-1 win for West Ham].

"We've tried over the last few years to challenge the big teams at home. There are a lot of big teams, and we always want to give our fans something to shout about.

"This is a big game and it's very important to us."

After the Hammers lost a thriller with Newcastle 4-3 at St James' Park at the weekend, Moyes gave an update on team news, saying: "Alphonse Areola has hurt his groin so at the moment it looks like he's going to be out for a little bit. We hope it's not too serious but Lukasz Fabianski will come in.

"Nayef Aguerd's trained today so we'll see how he and everyone else is before tomorrow."

Newcastle 4 West Ham 3 - in pictures

Can Newcastle win back-to-back for first time?

Newcastle, meanwhile, face another home game against relegation battlers Everton on Tuesday.

Magpies manager Eddie Howe said: "It’s been very difficult for them this season and it can be underestimated how difficult it is to blank out the noise around them, especially when your club is in the news for off-the-field matters," a reference to Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali being hit with a misconduct charge by the English Football Association over alleged breaches of betting rules.

"Sean [Dyche], as always, has done a brilliant job to galvanise his players and I think his players are fighting for him."

On the chance to record their first back-to-back wins of the season, Howe said: "Having two home games is really important but it will be a really difficult game.

"Whenever you play one of Sean Dyche’s teams it is always a very tough game. We won’t underestimate the challenge that is in front of us. But we know that if we can hit the heights like we did against West Ham, then we will have a chance to win."

Strugglers Burnley, who sit in 19th place, four points shy of safety, take on Wolves at Turf Moor.

Clarets manager Vincent Kompany said: "All we're asking is to have an opportunity, so if between now and the end of the season we have one opportunity, that's enough for us.

"We are trying to bring ourselves into a position where we give ourselves a game and a chance. That's all, nothing more."

He added: "We will just fight and work as hard as anyone to get that opportunity, but the next eight games don't define the club.

"We've not changed from last season in terms of that mental DNA, from what the club has always been about. We're also secretly looking forward to this run of eight games, so hopefully we give ourselves just one chance. That's all we need."

Cunha ahead of schedule for Wolves return

Wolves manager Gary O'Neil said he expects Matheus Cunha to be involved against Burnley.

The Brazilian forward has been out of action since injuring his hamstring earlier this season.

"I think we will see him on Tuesday. He will definitely be in the matchday squad barring anything going wrong between now and then," said, O'Neil.

"He's miles ahead of schedule. When the scan results came through for the injury, it was expected to be somewhere in the region of 10 to 12 weeks. He is just over six and he's doing absolutely everything."

Cunha has made 24 appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring nine and assisting six goals.

In Tuesday's other games, 17th-place Nottingham Forest take on mid-table Fulham at the City Ground, while Bournemouth meet Crystal Palace at the Vitality Stadium.

Updated: April 02, 2024, 3:19 AM