Tottenham 2-0 Fulham: Ange Postecoglou is ‘bringing the excitement back to Tottenham’

Tottenham Hotspur fans are loving life right now.

Top of the Premier League after nine matches following their best start to a season since winning the double back in 1960-61 – and under a manager Spurs supporters have fallen in love with.

Ange Postecoglou’s reign as Tottenham boss, after arriving from Celtic in the summer, could not have started better, and his style of bold, attacking football was epitomised by Monday’s high-intensity 2-0 win against Fulham.

Goals from Son Heung-min and James Maddison ensured they remained one of only two unbeaten sides in the league and, now two points clear at the summit, they are even being mentioned as being title contenders.

Maddison, described by ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher as “the Premier League’s most influential player”, told BBC Sport: “We want the fans to dream, but we will stay focused day by day.

“The fans can get carried away, we want that. It is what it is about for them, but it is about us not doing that. If you think of long-term goals you can get carried away.”

‘Fans are loving watching their team again’

Postecoglou, 58, left Celtic for Spurs after winning successive Scottish Premiership titles in his two seasons in charge of the Glasgow club.

He became Spurs’ fourth permanent manager since Mauricio Pochettino led them to the Champions League final in 2018-19, following forgettable eras under Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Antonio Conte brought just one top-four finish.

As well as mixed results, there was plenty of discontent around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium about the defensive football played under Spurs’ previous managers – something Australian Postecoglou has immediately addressed.

Carragher said on Sky Sports: “Most Spurs fans are not getting too carried away about winning the title. They will be delighted with making the Champions League next season.

“They started well last season under Antonio Conte but there wasn’t the same excitement. Fans look forward to watching the team play again. It has been a grind for a long time for Spurs and now the style of play brings some excitement back.

“Tottenham play really brave football. Fans are loving watching their team again.”

Few in north London will be getting too carried away with dreams of a first top-flight title since 1961, especially with the likes of champions Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all within three points.

The manager himself is one of those, after insisting his team still had a long way to go.

He said: “I think I’ve sat here every week and said that we have a long way to go. That doesn’t change. We are nine games in and we’re at the beginning of building something.

“It would be so much easier for me to sit here and say ‘yeah, we’re a great team’. What I’m saying is we have to improve and that puts the responsibility on me to make sure we do it. We can be better, absolutely we can.

“I was really disappointed with the second half, with the ball we were nowhere near the levels we have been all year. It’s probably the worst 45 minutes we have had with the ball all year.”

‘The Premier League’s most influential player’

Tottenham’s seventh league win of the season never looked in doubt on Monday as Postecoglou set a record of 23 points earned from his first nine Premier League fixtures in charge, surpassing Mike Walker and Guus Hiddink.

Only eight sides in Premier League history have started a campaign with more, with four of them going on to win the title, three ending second and one ending third.

It is a start that has been even more impressive considering the loss of club record scorer Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, with the attacking contributions of Maddison – a summer signing from Leicester City – and skipper Son helping to fill the void.

Maddison’s five assists so far this campaign is more than any other player in the Premier League, while Son has stepped up in the absence of Kane to hit seven goals – just one shy of Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland.

Maddison said: “We have a brilliant relationship. Sonny was a player I loved for years and years watching and now it is an absolute pleasure to play with him.

“He is a world-class player. I don’t throw that around a lot. We like to link up, we work a lot on it in training and we are starting to understand each other’s runs.”

Carragher added: “James Maddison has been player of the season so far. He has made a big step up and has taken it in his stride. He has a real football arrogance.

“He came in and took the number 10 shirt from Harry Kane, the greatest goalscorer the club has had, and he has shown he can handle it, he embraces it.

“He is the most influential player in the Premier League at the moment while Son is one of the best players in the Premier League of all time. What a sensational player.”

‘Starting to build something special’

BBC Sport’s Spurs writer Alex Howell from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: It is unbelievable to think that Tottenham ended last season with an interim manager, without European football to look forward to and then lost their talisman in the summer.

The feeling around the club is one of positivity and excitement with the way the team is playing.

Ange Postecoglou has led his side to the top of the Premier League after nine games and they are currently undefeated.

Under previous manager Antonio Conte, supporters were frustrated with their ‘safety first’ style of football. There is none of that under Postecoglou, with free-flowing football played by an attacking, fearless team.

Son Heung-min’s shift to striker and the arrival of James Maddison has surely clicked sooner than anyone at Tottenham could have hoped.

At the end of the victory against Fulham, the speakers around the ground blared out Angels by Robbie Williams, with supporters singing the adapted lyrics for their manager that fans hope is starting to build something special.

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