HomePostecoglou believes Maddison is returning to a stronger Spurs

Postecoglou believes Maddison is returning to a stronger Spurs

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James Maddison will make his long-awaited return from injury tomorrow night with Ange Postecoglou confident his Tottenham side are no longer overly reliant on the England international.

Maddison enjoyed a superb start to life in north London after arriving from Leicester City in a £40million deal last June, recording eight goal involvements (three goals, five assists) in his first 10 Premier League appearances for the club.

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However, he suffered an ankle injury during Spurs’ chaotic 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in early November – their first league loss under Postecoglou – and has not appeared since.

He returned to training this week and is set to play a part in Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Manchester City.

Postecoglou said: “Specifically, for him, the creative part, there aren’t too many in the league that are like him and we had to sort of cover that absence in different ways. 

“[Dejan] Kulusevksi played in there, Gio [Lo Celso] stepped in there and scored some goals for us. Our front three have really picked up and have got goals from set-pieces.

“The beauty of that is that when Madders comes back in, it’s not just reliant on him, whereas at the start of the season we were maybe a little bit more reliant on him. We found out through this period that we don’t have to be, but having him in there certainly adds to that as well.”

Postecoglou had to contend with an injury crisis prior to the short winter break but Maddison’s return coincides with defenders Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven also regaining full fitness.

Postecoglou added: “It’s great to have Madders back and Micky [van de Ven] and [Cristian] Romero are back and have had good training weeks. It just helps our ability to prepare for the challenges ahead.

“We have been through a difficult period. We have still got some absentees but I think that even with those, our performances have been at a good level and the players were really embracing what we are trying to do. We have set ourselves up now for a strong finish to the league season and a good cup run.”

Spurs come up against a Manchester City side that have regained their swagger after an indifferent spell before Christmas.

And while Postecoglou accepts they may have to modify their all-out attacking approach a little, he believes the sign of a strong philosophy is how it stands up against the best teams.

“You respect that you are playing a very, very good opponent,” he said.

“When you are playing an opponent of the calibre of Manchester City, whether you want to or not, your game has to adjust.

“We know there will be times when we are under stress and times when we are out possessed. Irrespective of your strategy that is going to happen. 

‘From our possession we are going to continue pressing on and being what we want to be. Your biggest test is when you play the best. That’s not just in terms of the result, but in terms of how we approach it.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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