Ange Postecoglou believes Tottenham have already passed plenty of tests this season – but he will not let the absence of nine first-team players at Wolves offer up an excuse for a dropoff in performance.
Spurs suffered their first defeat of the Premier League campaign on Monday in a chaotic 4-1 home loss to Chelsea, which could have further consequences in the long term.
Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero were sent off during the London derby, while Micky van de Ven (hamstring) and James Maddison (ankle) suffered serious injuries that will rule them out until January.
Postecoglou, however, is no stranger to a challenge given Harry Kane’s departure on the eve of the new campaign.
“The first test? Losing the greatest ever player in this competition the day before the start of the season? Nah, piece of cake,” Postecoglou pointed out.
“We lost players to almost season-ending injuries. Nah, don’t worry about it. Mate, there are tests all the time.
“In my whole career, I figured out there are only two states of being as a manager: under siege, or it’s coming. I’m well aware that every day nothing runs smooth. There’s always challenges out there.
“I just try and make sure I don’t change my state of being. It is what it is.
“I try and focus on what’s important. We’re still building a team and an environment where people want to win. It’s not going to change from week to week.
“It’s fairly extreme even for a person of my experience to lose five players in one game, but that doesn’t mean it’s any worse than anything we faced so far and it’s being a bit disrespectful to this group of players to say that everything has gone their way because it hasn’t.
“From day one there’s been a real resilience and character in the group and they’re going to have to show it again.
“We’ve had plenty of reasons not to be where we are, plenty of excuses in terms of the disruptions we’ve had already and some of the challenges we’ve had to face.
“Fair to say we won’t be using any kind of reason for us not to perform at our best tomorrow.”
Two of Postecoglou’s key decisions at Molineux and over the next couple of months will be trying to fill the void left by both Van de Ven and Maddison.
Van de Ven’s injury on Monday resulted in Tottenham adopting an extremely high line and while Guglielmo Vicario impressed in the sweeper-keeper role, pundits questioned the tactic.
But Postecoglou said: “I don’t try and lose games purposefully, trust me. I’m very much for trying to win a game of football. I get it’s slightly unconventional, that I kind of understand, but you don’t get from Australia to the Premier League by being conventional.
“And trust me, this isn’t the first time people have questioned my madness. It’s got me to where I am and I continue to do it because I believe we can win that way, not because of any other reason.”
Eric Dier made his first appearance of the season off the bench on Monday but is set for a regular role with Van de Ven injured until January and Romero suspended until next month.
Postecoglou added: “Eric has been part of this football club for a very long time.
“Every day he’s another one who has trained hard. He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities, but that’s because we’ve been pretty settled in terms of our back four and we haven’t had the need to put him in there.
“He’s always been ready to be called up. Now he gets the opportunity. I thought he did well the other night.
“I thought he handled it really well. His experience will be important for us, particularly with Micky’s absence and Romero being out for three games.”