Ange Postecoglou admits he had to hide signs of panic at Spurs after Kane exit

<span>Ange Postecoglou has had to cope after the striker’s departure of Harry Kane (pictured at a pre-season friendly).</span><span>Photograph: Alamy</span>
Ange Postecoglou has had to cope after the striker’s departure of Harry Kane (pictured at a pre-season friendly).Photograph: Alamy

Ange Postecoglou has admitted he had to hide signs of any panic from his players after Tottenham sold Harry Kane.

Kane left for Bayern Munich last summer as the club’s all-time highest scorer and has continued to be prolific. Postecoglou gave credit to his squad before Sunday’s game at home to Arsenal for bridging the gap left by Kane, also the record scorer in the north London derby.

Related: Son backs Spurs to respond in derby after ‘unacceptable’ Newcastle loss

“I think that was the sort of starting point for us,” he said of Kane’s departure. “I was literally sitting in here, the day before the Brentford game, and he just left. So you’re starting a season and the most significant person at this football club, maybe ever, by the time the dust settles has just left on the eve of the first game.

“I remember just making a real conscious effort of the old duck just looking really graceful above the water, and just if there’s any panicking happening just make sure it’s under the water where no one can see, particularly the players.

“If we weren’t scoring goals, I think his name would have come up a lot more. And I think, again, it’s a credit to the group, the playing group, that they’ve embraced that challenge.”

Tottenham have had a clear fortnight since their 4-0 loss at Newcastle. Postecoglou called the break “unusual” but said his players had learned from the experience and were ready to match what he expects to be a “great atmosphere” with a performance.

He described it as an opportunity to measure themselves against a team they want to challenge and conceded the match’s importance to supporters: “We understand the importance, particularly at home, in these kinds of games to not let our biggest rival get on top of us. So we understand the consequences.”

Oliver Skipp has been ruled out and the left-back Destiny Udogie will miss the rest of the season and Euro 2024 after surgery on a quadriceps injury. Richarlison and Pedro Porro have trained all week and are available for selection.