It was put to Ange Postecoglou yesterday it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. Well, if he HAD been chewing gum, he’d have spat it out in disgust.
The Celtic manager was asked why he couldn’t be thinking about a possible move to Spurs while plotting a Scottish Cup triumph at the same time. The inference being that it would be only natural for Tottenham’s desire to make him their next boss to creep into his consciousness.
The Aussie’s reaction said everything about his character and the drive that has taken him from Ange PostecogWHO when he hit these shores two years ago to one of the most sought-after managers currently plying his trade in the UK. Do you think the person who wins The Masters or Wimbledon thinks about all these other things?” he asked. “Or does he think about winning? I am talking about elite sport here. Maybe you don’t understand or conceptualise that.
“But it is not just elite sport, it is anything you want to do in life – do you think people who achieve things and teams who achieve things can be so easily distracted that they chew gum and walk at the same time? You really think that’s the message…you think I’ll walk into training and say ‘hey boys, what are we all doing after training? Let’s go out and have a drink and relax’.
“No mate, that is not how it works. I’d love you to be in my shoes and know what my world is and make sure that on Saturday we perform to the levels we can. You don’t understand that because you’d love the opposite to happen. You’d love for there to be a story that we aren’t successful (in the cup final).
“That would rock your world. Not because you want ill of me but that would be unbelievable…imagine the headlines you could come up with. That is what generates interest. I have lived that, every weekend we have a game there are only two stories that can be told.
“It’s not the first time it has happened this year (linked with jobs) and I have been pretty consistent in making people understand what I am about and what I am like. I’ve got too big a game on Saturday for this football club to be contemplating any matter other than us being ready for Saturday.
“I have yet to see somebody who walks and chews gum and is really, really successful. If anything what people have told me is you’ve got to get more balance in your life and I keep saying there is no balance. Apart from family, this is it. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking about anything other than getting training right and making sure we are ready for Saturday.
“I understand that’s not how everyone else thinks. But you are not invested in this football club. You are not Celtic supporters. You are not part of this club like I am and the players are.”
To put this into context, Postecoglou wasn’t digging out the media. He was trying to explain his position and why he could not allow Spurs’ very real interest to interfere with the here and now of trying to win another trophy for his football club. But when the final whistle blows on Saturday?
When asked if he would think about it then, this was his response: “There are a million things to think about after Saturday, including the holiday I am going to have. To look beyond that, I just can’t do.
“I can’t see anything past the game because that’s what I’ve always done. I don’t know if it’s natural but that’s how I’m wired. You’ve got to remember, from where I started 26 years ago, to be here I’ve had to be almost perfect in my coaching.
“Any missteps along the way and I would have struggled to get anywhere near European football, and now I’m at such a massive club. I’ve had to be driven, that was the only way I could see it happening.
“I couldn’t do it if I was just dipping my toe into things. As you all know, when I came here it wasn’t as if I was getting great reviews. People say I handled it really well but the reason I handled it well is the same reason I’m sitting here handling this.
“That’s who I am. I’m not trying to pretend to be something I’m not – I’d never have survived that early period if I wasn’t able to be really focused on my role and not get distracted by things being said about me.
“Starting off in Australia, I don’t know how you could chart a course to where I am today, apart from one way and that’s doing the job I’m doing the best I can, trying to be successful and seeing where that takes me. I’ve never said, ‘I’m going to go from here, to there, then to there.’ Every move I’ve made is because I thought there was another good challenge, something that’s going to get me growth.
“I love a challenge, ‘there’s another one, that’s where I’m going next’. But it’s not been in the sense I’m going to do two years here, three years there, five years there and move on.
“This club plays in the Champions League, like everyone else I want to be competing at the highest possible level. That’s how I got to a World Cup with Australia because I wanted to test myself against the best teams in the world. All of us, that’s what we want.”
Therein lies Celtic’s problem. Champions League aside, can they give Postecoglou the challenges he craves? Spurs might not be in Europe next season but week in, week out, pitting his wits against Guardiola, Klopp, Arteta and Co might just be enough to give him something to chew over.
When he’s lying on his sunlounger.
READ NEXT:2023-06-02T05:11:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd