nge Postecoglou has played down comparisons to Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and claims trying to replicate another manager’s style would be as futile as copying a Picasso.
Postecoglou and Arteta face each other for the first time when Tottenham make the short trip to Seven Sisters Road for the north London derby on Sunday.
The two managers could hardly have had more contrasting journeys in the Premier League, but there are similarities in their uncompromising attacking approach and approach to rebuilding.
Postecoglou first met Arteta, 17 years his junior, when he was managing Japanese side Yokohama F. Marinos and the Spaniard was assisting Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
“I spent a week at City when I got the job at Yokohama because they were part of the (City Football) group and were generous enough to invite me,” Postecoglou said. “I didn’t speak to anyone but I watched training and you could see then how passionate Mikel was about the game and that he was looking forward to becoming a manager himself.
“Tim Cahill always spoke highly of him, as a player and as a person.
“He had a different journey but he had an impact.
“In terms of similarities…I’m 58, he’s whatever. I’ve got 26 years of experience, he’s five years in. He’s been successful in one country, I’ve been successful in a few. I don’t know how he did it.great hair…He’s way fitter than me, I don’t know mate, there’s not a lot of discussion that I can sort of join between us.
“I wouldn’t say we’re opposites. We’re people and we’re all different.
“Even in the way his team plays. Yes, he has a very offensive philosophy but it’s different from mine and that’s the beauty of the game. That’s what we like. That’s why we can’t not copy.
“If you’re an artist and you see a Picasso, yes, you can copy it, but it won’t be a Picasso, will it?
“It’s the same with football. You can see that someone is doing something very well, but don’t bring your own personality to it. I have great admiration for the way he approaches things and for the way he stays true to his beliefs. It’s a credit to him.”
Postecoglou said he particularly respected the way Arteta stuck to his principles, despite consecutive eighth-place finishes in his first two seasons in charge, but rejected the suggestion Arsenal could come up with a plan for their own rebuild.
“They stuck with the process, regardless of the short-term gains that might have been made by going in a different direction,” Postecoglou said. “Mikel was exceptional, very strong from the start in having a real vision for the football club. And the club supported him.
“I don’t think it’s unique… (but) a lot of clubs jump into the shadows at the first sign that things are not progressing at the pace they hoped. Thanks to Arsenal and Mikel for the fact that They supported each other and I reap the rewards.
“But it’s not a model to follow. We have our own model. You don’t have to follow someone else’s timeline, you don’t have to follow someone else’s processes else. What you need to do is have a clear idea of what you want and provided along the way, you see progress, stick to it.”
Postecoglou believes there is “no bigger challenge” for his young side at this stage of their development than an away day at last season’s runners-up and says this match will be a good measure of Tottenham’s progress.
“By not backing away from that challenge, by not fearing the outcome if things don’t go well, at the end of the day, that’s always your measure,” he said.
“When I played in Champions League games with Celtic or World Cup games with Australia, (people said) I should have changed my approach and we learned some pretty interesting lessons in along the way.
“But I just think that’s the only way to measure yourself. How do you know? If you want to be that kind of team?
“That’s the question. If you want to be a team that challenges, you know you have to play that way regardless of the opponent, there’s no point in not using a game like Sunday as a measure to see where we are.
“If we avoid this, don’t play our football, manage to draw and survive the experience, what have we really learned? Other than surviving 90 minutes of football? Nothing.
“The players already know that this is what I will pass on to them. We are going to go out and play our football. If we are small, we are small, we have to catch up. If we match them, that’s great, don’t right? We know we have a long way to go and we have already established ourselves and on the biggest occasions we have shown that we are ready to play our football.
He continued: “Those are the experiences that I want the guys to have and for us to have as a group to help us grow. That’s the only way to grow. You don’t grow by literally being in the shadows .You have to look up, see the sun and allow yourself to grow even if that sometimes means the experience isn’t great because you can grow from it.
“It’s a challenge for the whole group and for us, but whatever happens, it won’t stop our true intention of becoming that kind of football team, whatever the result. Obviously, positive means that you continue, but even positive can sometimes detail you because you think you “We are further along than you. We are not. After Sunday, we will be six games into a pretty significant rebuild. “