Tottenham is in the race for the Premier League title

Ange Postecoglou’s professional and personal qualities have impressed Daniel Levy – Getty Images/Michael Regan

Ange Postecoglou has optimistically insisted Tottenham are in the race for the Premier League title in the run-up to his team’s trip to Manchester United.

Telegraph Sport understands Postecoglou’s view is shared by other senior figures within Spurs, who have made the fastest start to the January transfer window by signing striker Timo Werner and defender Radu Dragusin in time for the game against United.

While United need to beat fifth-placed Spurs to keep their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League alive, Postecoglou has set his team’s sights much higher.

Tottenham are just one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal and six behind leaders Liverpool, who have the weekend off.

When asked by Telegraph Sport if he thinks Tottenham are in the title race, manager Postecoglou replied: “Well, define what the title race is.”

When Postecoglou was told that being in the title race means having a realistic chance of finishing the season at the top of the table, Postecoglou added: “So by that definition, if I say ‘no’, you would become to me and say, ‘Come on, Ange.’ By definition, we are, right? So, yes we are. [in the title race] And I’ve said it all along to the point where you’re not, why would you rule out the possibility?

“We’ve been through a really tough period and we’re hanging in there. We had four games in which the results went against us, but we have recovered. We are still there. Our performances for the most part have been pretty consistent. But all that is meaningless if we don’t finish the season stronger than the first half and that’s what we have to do.”

Postecoglou’s revolution at Tottenham is based on trust

For Postecoglou, Tottenham’s turnaround comes down to trust: the trust the club has in him to do things right and take responsibility, and his faith in those above him to deliver.

Postecoglou earned the trust of president Daniel Levy during the first half of the season, in which Spurs not only coped with the departure of Harry Kane, but became an unlikely contender for the Premier League title despite the absence of key players.

That backing was rewarded this month as Levy broke with tradition by allowing Tottenham to move quickly in the January transfer window to sign Werner and Dragusin.

Telegraph Sport understands that Levy has told associates that, for the first time since Mauricio Pochettino, he believes he has a manager with the right professional and personal qualities to succeed at Tottenham.

Radu Dragusin playing for Genoa before moving to TottenhamRadu Dragusin playing for Genoa before moving to Tottenham

Radu Dragusin’s arrival offers Spurs greater defensive depth – Getty Images/Simone Arveda

Levy will be wary of Postecoglou’s Premier League title talk, having seen Tottenham earn accusations of being football’s big bottlers, but the Australian is unmoved by reputations and outside noise.

That is why he is not worried about Werner’s problems at Chelsea or the fact that he has not been a regular starter for RB Leipzig this season. Postecoglou sees something he likes in the German and is more interested in how good he could be than what could go wrong.

“Leipzig plays a little differently now and for someone like Timo the system he plays doesn’t necessarily suit him,” Postecoglou said. “And he has some competition.

“If Timo played regularly and scored goals, he wouldn’t be here. We couldn’t afford it. It’s as simple as that.

“You’re looking for these opportunities and potentially looking beyond the obvious to say, ‘Here’s an opportunity.’ When Johan Lange [Tottenham’s technical director] He presented it to me, I was really excited because I thought, ‘here’s an opportunity that wouldn’t normally come across our desk at this time we’re in as a club.’

“I could see some real possibilities for him playing in our system, maybe in Leipzig where they have changed the way they play, and maybe the opportunities wouldn’t be as plentiful for him there.”

Timo Werner on the benchTimo Werner on the bench

Timo Werner has not started for RB Leipzig, but if he had been, he would not have been available – Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

It is unlikely that Werner and Dragusin would have signed so quickly if Postecoglou had not demonstrated his ability to quickly integrate new signings, following the summer arrivals of Micky van de Ven, Brennan Johnson and Guglielmo Vicario.

It is no coincidence that Levy showed reluctance to rush into last January’s transfer market after signings from the previous summer, such as Richarlison and Yves Bissouma, had spent considerable time on the bench.

And Levy need not worry about the finger of blame being pointed at him if Werner or Dragusin don’t work out after Postecoglou immediately declared that he will take responsibility for the success or failure of both players.

“I think it’s a matter of faith and trust to say ‘OK’ because every time you bring in a player or make a transfer, there is an investment,” Postecoglou said. “It is not unlimited. It doesn’t matter how big the club is. Most clubs feel safer doing so if they have faith and trust in those decisions and these are my decisions, I take responsibility for transfers.

“So I think that’s where we were able to move quickly because everyone was really aligned, everyone at the club, with our goals and there didn’t need to be too many discussions about who the player was or too many discussions.” about whether we should consider other options.

“It was, ‘Okay, this is what we want, let’s try to make it happen.’ If it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen and I think that’s what helped us move forward pretty quickly.

“With the conditions that we’ve overcome, with the conditions that we’ve created, we certainly feel like we can finish the season stronger than we started.

“We have managed to get to a decent position in the league, we are in the next round of the FA Cup, those possibilities are always there and we certainly want to approach them in the strongest way possible without any fear or fear of achieving anything.

“We’ve done it from day one, we’ve had a vision of the type of football we want to play and some parts are really good and I’ve been surprised with the progress and other parts we’re still in the early stages.” stages of development. “We have a platform here to start and test from here.”

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