BENGALURU (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur and Ange Postecoglou should not rein in the high-risk high-reward apporach that proved so successful in the first few weeks of the Premier League season despite recent defeats, former players Ossie Ardiles and Ledley King said.
Spurs, unbeaten in their first 10 league games under the Australian, making him the first coach to win the first three Manager of the Month awards available to him, have slipped from top spot to fifth on 26 points after three straight defeats.
Postecoglou has implemented an exciting brand of football and stuck by it resolutely, playing a high line during the 4-1 home defeat by Chelsea even after going down to nine men.
Pundits have urged Tottenham to play more cautiously with a string of injuries having decimated the squad and games against Manchester City and Newcastle United coming up, but Ardiles said it would not make sense for Postecoglou to change his ways now.
"Ange is going to persevere with his philosophy of football and I believe that is absolutely crucial," 71-year-old Ardiles, who played for Spurs from 1978-88, famously winning the FA Cup, and managed them from 1993-94, told Reuters on Tuesday.
In the 2-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, Son Heung-min had three goals disallowed for offside, while Dejan Kulusevski and Pedro Porro hit the post.
"The approach that we had against Aston Villa, it was absolutely brilliant. We were there to win the game and this is what Tottenham always represents and this season is going to carry on being like that," added Ardiles.
Former Spurs captain King highlighted the opportunities the team created in all three of their league losses, saying: "We played well in two of the defeats. I don't think the manager needs to change anything at this point.
"The difficult part is that we have many players missing and the Premier League is a very unforgiving league," added 43-year-old King, who came through the youth system at Spurs and spent his entire career at the club, lifting the League Cup in 2008.
"But I believe the manager trusts his philosophy, he's been successful that way and he should stick with it."
Tottenham's previous season ended in chaos with manager Antonio Conte's acrimonious exit followed by unremarkable interim stints for Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason, during which the club finished eighth and missed out on Europe.
However, this term there is a sense of optimism around Spurs, which Ardiles attributed to Postecoglou, saying the Australian had lifted the mood at the north London outfit since joining from Celtic earlier this year.
"Since the moment he arrived, Ange has been a breath of fresh air in the club," the 1978 World Cup winner said, speaking on the sidelines of an event in Bengaluru announcing a partnership between Tottenham and Indian club Kickstart FC.
"He has changed everything. The atmosphere in the club was not that nice, to be perfectly honest, and he changed immediately all that.
"He has done a wonderful job in a lot of respects, but especially the connection between him, the players and the supporters."
King stressed that Spurs fans have faith in Postecoglou and his players, adding: "They believe that he'll be able to turn things around once players start coming back and that we'll be in a good spot at the end of the season."
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)