Tottenham don't have 'mentality issue', insists Postecoglou after fourth straight loss

Spurs lose 4-2 to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday as encouraging season peters out in the last few games

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou insisted his players do not have a "mentality issue" after suffering a fourth straight Premier League defeat with a 4-2 loss to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

A 4-0 defeat to Newcastle United on April 13 kickstarted Tottenham's alarming collapse in form, and was followed by losses to Arsenal (3-2), Chelsea (2-0), and now Liverpool.

It is the first time in 20 years that Tottenham have lost four league games in a row and a season that was so full of promise is petering out in disappointing fashion.

While Tottenham avoided humiliation at Anfield by battling back from 4-0 down to make the scoreline respectable, it was still a humbling afternoon for the North London club. But Postecoglou said he was impressed with Tottenham's approach on Sunday.

"It's got to nothing to do [with mentality]," he said. "If you come to Anfield and don't try and play, maybe that shows you don't have the mentality.

"We tried to play, we definitely tried to play, so I don't think it's a mentality issue at all. In fact, I think it's the polar opposite of that.

"The mentality at least tonight was there for us to go out and try and be a version of ourselves. We're short absolutely but it gives me something to work with."

Tottenham remain in fifth place with three games to go and with fixtures against Sheffield United and Burnley to come they should hang on for a place to qualify for next season's Europa League.

Postecoglou said Sunday's display was far better than the defeats by Newcastle and Chelsea.

"At 4-0 we've got a mountain to climb but again when we play like ourselves we always finish strong because we put pressure on the opposition and it eventually takes its toll," he said.

"We got a couple of goals and we maybe could have had a couple more. It's disappointing but at least we tried to play and looked like a version of ourselves.

"I don't think we were playing badly, I know we were losing 4-0 and against Arsenal I don't think we were playing badly, the difference was in the two boxes we kind of lacked a cutting edge and the opposition were good opposition."

The introduction off the bench of Richarlison in the second half had a positive impact on Tottenham with the Brazilian scoring to start a mini-fight back by the visitors.

"It's fair to say before he came on we never looked threatening at all whenever we got into those areas," he said.

"Him coming on, I thought Sonny [Son Heung-min] improved on the left and Brennan [Johnson] improved on the right. Just gave us a bit more of a presence."

Liverpool are guaranteed to finish no lower than third and closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to five points with two games remaining.

"It's a little bit of a mirror of the season. Really, really, really good until we were really rubbish and then, we were OK again," said Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who was taking charge of his penultimate game at Anfield.

"The moment you let them play, immediately, you see what they can do. If you don't let them play, then you can hurt them."

No Klopp U-turn

After watching his side return to form, with goals from Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott securing victory inside an electric Anfield, Klopp said he still had no second thoughts about reversing his decision to step down in the summer.

"It seems to be really strange what I did, nobody really understands it, I tried to explain it," Klopp said of his departure announcement.

"I didn't say what I said because I was not happy with the atmosphere in the stadium or with the way we played football. I think when I spoke about it, we played exceptional football, so that was not the difference. Other reasons. So no, that didn't influence that decision."

Klopp, whose final appearance on the Anfield touchline will be May 19 when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers on the season's last day, was asked about making believers of Liverpool fans after he was hired in 2015.

"This is a very, very special club," he said. "I didn't make them believe, I reminded them that it helps when you believe, that's what I think.

"Everybody was ready to push the train. And that's what we did for eight and a half years."

Updated: May 06, 2024, 5:41 AM