Soccer-Postecoglou looking forward to Tottenham's night at the 'G'

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - May 19, 2024 Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou before the match REUTERS/Peter Powell/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ange Postecoglou is certain his Tottenham Hotspurs players will enjoy the experience of playing in front of a big crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this week despite hotfooting it Down Under after their last Premier League match.

Spurs take on Newcastle United in a friendly at Australia's most famous sporting arena on Wednesday and former England skipper Alan Shearer is among those who have questioned the scheduling from a player welfare point of view.

Postecoglou, returning to his home city for the first time since 2019, said it had been a gruelling trip, but thought the players would forget the 26 hours on the plane once they got out on the pitch.

"I said to the lads, I know it's a long way but I think you'll enjoy playing at the 'G'," he told reporters.

"It's not easy because we you know, we played Sheffield on Sunday afternoon and we basically got straight on the plane to come out here.

"So we all lost Monday the 20th from our lives, but we're here now and hopefully when (the boys) walk out tomorrow night and there's 80,000 people at the 'G', the rest of it's irrelevant, and I'm sure they are looking forward to it."

Spurs beat relegated Sheffield United 3-0 on Sunday to cement fifth place in the Premier League and qualify for the Europa League next year.

Postecoglou scoffed at the idea that fixture congestion might hamper the club next season.

"That's the reward for finishing strong this year so I think we're looking forward to that," he said.

"It's another challenge for us and we'll be ready for it. I think not having European football this year cost us a bit in terms of our development.

"This club deserves to be in Europe and hopefully we can make an impact next year."

Despite being away from home for five years, Postecoglou said he was aware how intently his career was being followed by football fans in Australia - as he had once followed the likes of Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill when they played in England.

Postecoglou was the first Australian to manage a Premier League club when he took over at Spurs last year and he hoped he was acting as a trailblazer for his compatriot coaches.

"I understand that if I continue to make inroads where I am, that shines a light on Australia and Australian people," he said.

"I've made it part of my mission to try and open doors for Australian coaches, I think it's still very difficult to get a look-in because of where we come from.

"I've never felt that's right. I don't think where you come from should come into it. If I can open those doors for other guys coming through, I think that'll be something I'll take great pride in."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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