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Sit in the UFC cage – Postecoglou tells Spurs to focus on football, not fighting

Ange Postecoglou was pleased to see Tottenham back on their feet to come back and claim a vital 3-2 home win Brentford but told both sets of players to enter the UFC ring if they want to focus on fighting over the goals.

Spurs were sluggish in the first half and conceded to Neil Mopay's 15th-minute opener, which saw him mock James Maddison's darts celebration and catalyze a heated battle between the London rivals.

Everything Postecoglou said at half-time worked, with Tottenham scoring twice in 72 seconds through Destiny Udoga and substitute Brennan Johnson. Richarlison scored three goals in eight second-half minutes as he reached 56 minutes on the clock.

Ivan Tonei set up a podium finish when he pounced on Udoga's mistake to score in front of England manager Gareth Southgate, but Spurs held on to overtake Aston Villa and reclaim fourth place after a chaotic encounter.

Asked if his team had been fired up by Maupai's darts celebration, Postecoglou said: “I hope not, because that's exactly what I'm talking about.

“I'm not a fan of it. I don't like this bravado, pushing people. If you're that bold about things, my players and their players, get in the UFC cage and I'll see how bold they are.

“We're there to play football and that's what I want our guys to do, focus on playing football and not get motivated by things that aren't really that important to us.

“As I said, in the first half we were dragged. The second half was better.

“I think we started the game well, we started with good intensity and good pace, obviously they scored and then we got lost.

“We lost focus. I was a little disappointed with our inability to stay disciplined, just too much stop and start, it kind of plays into their hands, a lot of set pieces and throw-ins.

“We spent more time talking to the referee than playing the game. I was a little disappointed that we lost a real clear focus.

“The second half, I think for 25-30 minutes we were excellent, scored three excellent goals and probably should have scored a couple more.”

Spurs started on the front foot but were shaken when Udogi fed the ball to Christian Norgaard, who sent Toni through, and while Guglielmo Vicario denied him, Maupai was on hand to bundle home and score for the fourth successive game.

If you're so bold about things, my players and their players, get in the UFC cage and I'll see how bold they are

Ange Postecoglou

Tottenham were locked into Brentford's game plan after the rest of the opening 45 was stop-start and plenty of close-quarters, but a double substitution at half-time inspired the hosts to come back with Johnson and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Udogi headed home after a sharp one-two with Werner, who then put Johnson at the back post in the 49th minute.

When Richarlison scored his seventh league goal in as many matches, after Maddison's shot was blocked, Spurs were on course for three points, but another poor pass from Udoga allowed Toni to make a dramatic finish in the N17.

Maddison was forced off at the end with cramp, but Postecoglou's side survived seven minutes of stoppage time to return to the top four.

Opposite number Thomas Frank fueled the fire further after stoppage time when he questioned why Tottenham had allowed Mopay's darts celebration to rile them.

“If that's what annoys them, then they have a problem,” Frank said.

“Is that fair enough? If they're talking about darts holidays bringing them down, I think they've got a personal problem.'

On Postecoglou's UFC suggestion, Frank added: “Yes, I agree. Just focus on playing football.''


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