Ange Postecoglou has no interest in Tottenham’s poor historical record away to the Premier League’s ‘big six’ but has challenged his young team to accelerate their growth by winning those games on the road.
Spurs travel to Old Trafford on Sunday with Manchester United trailing the fifth-placed visitors by eight points after 20 matches.
Tottenham won 6-1 at United in 2020 but have claimed only one victory at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or United in the ensuing 16 attempts.
“I’m not a great one at looking at the historical references to these things, I wasn’t there so I don’t know whether there was something endemic in the club that didn’t allow that,” Postecoglou explained. “I just tackle from when I get into a club.
“I think it is important – if you want to be successful, you need to be able to perform in those big games, particularly away from home.
“We went to Arsenal, City (and drew), (beat) Liverpool here, we’ve done OK in those games. Not just results but performance-wise, I don’t think we’ve walked away from any of those games and thought there was a massive gap between us and them.
“Old Trafford is another place where you know the atmosphere is going to be a great challenge for us. It would be good to see how we react to that and how we keep developing as a team.
“It’s an important part of the process. Home comforts are great and we have a great crowd behind us, but if you can do it away from home in adversity I think it accelerates your growth.”
Spurs will be without a number of key individuals, with captain and leading marksman Son Heung-min absent with South Korea at the Asian Cup, though Postecoglou can call upon January recruits Radu Dragusin and Timo Werner.
Werner was linked with a move to United but has returned to England with Tottenham and has a point to prove after he managed only 10 goals in 56 Premier League appearances during two seasons at Chelsea.
“Again, that’s not the way I look at it,” Postecoglou countered. “I’m looking at what he can give us today, not something that happened three or four years ago.
“I just don’t think it’s relevant. I dare suggest he’s a different player, he’s certainly a different person. We all, with more experiences, evolve, we grow up in many senses, there’s more maturity, he’s probably at a different stage of his life.
“What I look at is if we bring Timo in, can he contribute to the side we have today and the way we play provided his motivations are right?”
While Werner is set to start this weekend, centre-back Dragusin is likely to be on the bench with Micky van de Ven fit again and Cristian Romero back in full training.
Postecoglou is nevertheless excited about having three top centre-backs competing for two spots.
He added: “If Radu just wanted to play, he would have stayed at Genoa.
“He has come to a big club and when you go to a big club, you know you have to compete. That’s part of your development.”