Throughout Monday night’s wildly chaotic London derby match, the Spurs manager maintained an extremely high defensive line, even after Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie were sent -, leaving the hosts ultimately down to nine men.
Still, Postecoglou would not abandon the ultra-high line despite that huge numerical disadvantage and the loss of three first-choice defenders in total, with Micky van de Ven also lost to a serious-looking hamstring injury in the first half.
Such a brave tactic was successful for long periods as Tottenham battled valiantly with nine men at 1-1, Chelsea’s initially frustrated and rather one-dimensional attack struggling to make the most of their repeated long balls over the top as they were either caught offside or met by the wonderful sweeping from inspired goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Such a refusal to abandon their attacking principles almost paid dividends for Tottenham as Eric Dier had a superb volley chalked off – the fifth disallowed goal in a total of a memorable night – and they created other strong chances with the game still in the balance – most notably Rodrigo Bentancur’s header from close range that drifted agonizingly wide of the far post and captain Heung-min Son’s shot that was repelled by Robert Sanchez.
The subject of Spurs’ high line was one of several big talking points after one of the most haywire matches in recent Premier League history, though Postecoglou made no apologies for sticking to his guns despite Chelsea going on to win comfortably 4-1 courtesy of a late Nicolas Jackson hat-trick.
“It is just who we are mate, it is who we are and who we will be for as long as I am here. If we go down to five men we will have a go,” the Australian told reporters afterward.