Ange Postecoglou not out for revenge as Spurs prepare for Villa clash

Ange Postecoglou will not entertain talk of revenge when Tottenham visit Aston Villa on Sunday.

Spurs travel to Villa Park for what will be a crucial match in the battle for Champions League qualification with the hosts currently occupying fourth spot in the Premier League.

Villa have also won the last three meetings with Tottenham, but the narrative of revenge surrounds an incident from the previous clash on November 25.

The fixture marked Rodrigo Bentancur’s first start in nine months. However, it was cut short by an ill-timed tackle from Villa full-back Matty Cash that earned him a caution and forced Bentancur off after 32 minutes with an ankle injury.

Cash’s challenge sparked a melee between both sets of players and had unavailable Spurs personnel gunning for the defender, who was later given an escort by his team-mates to the away dressing room at half-time, but Postecoglou laughed off suggestions payback could be on the cards.

He insisted: “No interest mate.

“For us, the challenge is to face a really good team, with really strong home form and beyond that you’d be surprised about how little that stuff infiltrates what we do and sort of our motivations for a game of football.

“If anything, they’re the type of things where you hope that as you mature and develop as a team become less and less important or a focus.

“When you’re clutching at those kinds of things, you’re losing sense of what’s important. What’s important for us is to be at our best against a very good football team and try to get a result.”

Cristian Romero was suspended for Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Villa in November but made clear his disapproval of Cash’s tackle from his seat by the home dugout.

The Argentina defender is no stranger to a poor challenge after he was sent off for catching Enzo Fernandes of Chelsea on the shin earlier this season, but that red card is a rare blot on a largely clean copybook for Romero this term.

Appointed vice-captain by Postecoglou last summer, Romero has relished the extra responsibility and been able to swap his previous recklessness for a new-found level of composure that has seen him yet to be booked in 2024.

This time last year Romero had received two red cards and already been shown nine cautions, but alongside one sending-off this season, he has also only been given four yellows, while his average tackles per league game has decreased from 2.5 to 2 and fouls per game reduced from 1.6 to 0.7.

Postecoglou lavished praise on his centre-back, who has developed a new habit for goals after he headed in his fourth of the campaign in last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

“He’s outstanding but I thought he was from day one,” Postecoglou said.


“He’s a World Cup winner as a starter. Not just part of the squad or as a contributor.

“He’s got great pedigree, he’s a great defender, great guy, very driven, very motivated. Highly, highly competitive in everything he does and I love that.

“There’s nothing more you’d want in an athlete and he’s a great example for the rest of the guys.”

Spurs will have Pedro Porro available for the Villa Park clash, but Richarlison is set to remain sidelined with a knee injury.


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