Ange Postecoglou will not tell Tottenham supporters how to feel about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict but hopes his team can provide a sense of escapism when they host Fulham on Monday night.
The fixture will be Spurs’ first at home since tensions escalated in the Middle East, with hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed in a massive blast at a Gaza City hospital on Tuesday.
A statement was issued by Tottenham earlier this month in response to the initial war breaking out between Israel and Hamas, but some supporters were critical of the club for failing to show support for victims from the Jewish community, which has a long-standing affiliation with the Premier League outfit.
Postecoglou answered questions about the ongoing conflict during Friday’s press conference and although he discussed the topic at length, he was keen to point out the role of his players is merely to help fans forget their troubles for 90 minutes.
“I have the responsibility of being a football manager but like everyone else, I’m a human being and you struggle with these things and you understand that other people will struggle with them,” he explained.
“My life experience has taught me not to judge or come to any strong conclusions. I’ll let the people who are affected by it be the guide in these kinds of things, because it’s very easy for others to cast judgement but in all these things, you are guided by people who are directly affected.
“I am not the custodian of this club. I have been at this club for four months or whatever it is.
“People have spent lifetimes in these clubs, so I am not going to go round telling people how to feel, how to behave, how to act, what to think.
“As I said, I think the greatest role a football club can play in these scenarios is to provide what they have always provided – a sense of one place where people can come and escape and hopefully unite as one to support their football club.
“You know, maybe sort of take them away from whatever troubles they may have. I think that’s the greatest role any football club has.”
No Israel or Palestine flags will be allowed into Tottenham’s stadium on Monday, which was a club-wide move by the Premier League in an attempt to ease any potential tension among supporters during this weekend.
A minute’s silence has occurred in all top-flight matches but Postecoglou was eager to focus on football in its purest form when quizzed about the feeling of fans affected by the Israel-Hamas war.
He added: “When we go out there on Monday night there will be 60,000 – and hundreds of thousands around the world – who just want to see their football team play some exciting football and win a game and give them that joy that only football can bring.
“Because, you know, when you score in that last minute to win a game of football, you don’t care who is next to you. Do you?
“You don’t care where they come from, what they think or what they believe. You are united as one for that moment. That’s what football provides.”
Postecoglou did also reveal support is on hand for Israel international Manor Solomon, who is currently out with a knee injury while the war is impacting his home nation.
“Not specifically (about the war). I have spoken to Manor because he’s dealing with a couple of things. He has just had his surgery as well. I have been helping him through that process,” the Spurs boss revealed.
“Again, it’s not about me trying to extract information from him. I am there.
“He’s going through what he is going through, like a lot of people in his position. Hopefully like I said, he feels like there’s a place here where he feels if he needs some extra help or guidance, we can give it to him.”