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The Roar


'Fourth is not my end goal': Ange doubles down on Champions League view as Spurs suffers shock loss to Fulham

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16th March, 2024

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou has doubled down on his belief that Champions League qualification is not crucial for the development of his team.

Disappointed by his side’s 3-0 Premier League defeat at mid-table Fulham on Saturday (Sunday AEDT), former Socceroos boss Postecoglou insisted the pursuit of fourth place and a spot at European soccer’s top table was not his prime concern.

Spurs entered this fixture on a high after an emphatic victory at Aston Villa last weekend.

It meant fifth-placed Tottenham could leapfrog Villa and reclaim fourth spot with all three points at Craven Cottage, but they were blown away as Rodrigo Muniz continued his excellent form with a goal either side of halftime.

“The second half, after we conceded the second one, we just didn’t reach the levels of intensity and tempo we’ve had all year,” Postecoglou said.

“I don’t see fourth as the prize. This club has finished fourth before. It’s finished second before.

“Fourth is not my end goal. I don’t want to finish fourth if we haven’t grown as a team and developed as a team.


“Success is built on more tangible stuff.

“If we finish fifth and I think we’ve got a team to challenge next (season), then I won’t be disappointed.”

Sasa Lukic also found the net after 49 minutes with his first goal for Fulham, who have now won four of their last six matches – including victories over Brighton and Manchester United.

“If not the best (performance), one of the best,” Postecoglou’s opposite number Marco Silva said.

“The first half was the best of the season because the players did it brilliant. It was almost perfect.”

Tottenham captain Son Heung-min described the defeat as “unacceptable” and urged his teammates to use it as a wake-up call.


“Everybody has to look in the mirror and say, ‘It was my fault’ because it was not good enough,” Son told broadcaster Sky Sports.

“The attitude, the performance, it was not good enough. Everyone needs this as a big wake-up call.

“It is unacceptable, that performance and the result.

“We make two steps backwards and now need to make a strong step forwards.”

At the other end of the table, Burnley kept their faint survival hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Brentford at Turf Moor.

Brentford had to play most of the match a man short on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) after Sergio Reguilon was sent off with just nine minutes on the clock for a push on Vitinho inside the penalty area. 


Following the fastest red card of the Premier League season, Burnley took the lead from the resulting spot-kick as Jacob Bruun Larsen converted from 12 yards. 

Burnley looked to have sealed their first win in 2024 and first since a 2-0 victory over Fulham in December when David Datro Fofana slotted past Mark Flekken from inside the box to make it 2-0.

But they were made to sweat for the points when Kristoffer Ajer pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute with a smart header. 

In another crucial game in the relegation battle, Luke Berry scored a late equaliser to earn Luton a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest. 

Forest hit the front in the 34th minute after Morgan Gibbs-White floated a cross to the onrushing Chris Wood who volleyed home from close range. 

Luton looked to have equalised before the break when Teden Mengi bundled home but referee Darren England cut celebrations short after the ball hit the defender’s arm in the process. 


The Hatters struck in the 89th minute to secure a valuable point when Berry poked home from Reece Burke’s nod down inside the box to prevent Forest pulling away from the bottom three and keep the gap at three points.