Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

We were wishing a happy new year – Ange Postecoglou plays down touchline melee

Ange Postecoglou (left) and Andoni Iraola played down a touchline melee after Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth (John Walton/PA)
Ange Postecoglou (left) and Andoni Iraola played down a touchline melee after Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth (John Walton/PA)

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou played down his heated touchline exchange with Bournemouth’s backroom staff towards the end of an entertaining 3-1 home win.

Pape Sarr, Son Heung-min and Richarlison were on target to fire fifth-placed Spurs to a fourth victory in five matches, which puts them three points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool going into 2024.

The back and forth contest threatened to spill over towards its conclusion when young Tottenham substitute Alejo Veliz suffered a suspected knee injury and while he attempted to play on, he was repeatedly told by Postecoglou and his staff to stay down to receive treatment.

It led to Postecoglou exchanging words with Bournemouth first-team coach Shaun Cooper in stoppage time before a melee ensued on the touchline, which resulted in referee Stuart Hooper booking the duo and Spurs midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

But Postecoglou joked: “We were just wishing each other happy new year.

“It’s alright. Just a little bit of emotion in the game. I was more concerned with Alejo because we were kind of trying to get him off the field and, apart from my physically going on the pitch and dragging him off, he wasn’t really going to go down.

“So, we were just shouting at him and I think the Bournemouth staff thought, I don’t know what they thought, maybe that we were trying to make a substitution but we knew we had none. It was just about getting him off.”

Opposite number Andoni Iraola was also happy to brush off the incident, although suggested it was clever game management.

“No, it is normal. I think it is what all the teams do. When you are winning the game, you want to play as less as possible, you want to stop,” Cherries head coach Iraola said.

“They had Veliz injured and it is normal. We were putting a lot of pressure, even if it was 3-1 and it was a dangerous game for them.

“It is something that when you are winning, we all do. We try to play as less as possible and we have to accept it.

Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola had no issue with Tottenham’s actions (John Walton/PA)

“He (Veliz) is injured but he has to go to the bench and sit. We cannot wait because he is injured.

“It was obvious he was injured, for sure. I know otherwise he would continue playing and running, no? But he could just walk to the bench but it is normal.

“He tried to play because it was good for them try to continue playing, stop a little bit, continue, stop because we were pushing a lot and sometimes you have to manage the game like this. It is normal and we have to accept it.”

While Postecoglou was able to toast a victorious end to 2023, Spurs’ injury crisis reared its ugly head again with a tearful Sarr forced off with a hamstring injury and Veliz also emotional upon leaving the pitch.

Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Pape Sarr leaves the pitch after picking up an injury (John Walton/PA)

Rodrigo Bentancur did make a surprise return a month ahead of schedule from an ankle injury, which is a timely boost with Sarr and Yves Bissouma set for Africa Cup of Nations duty next month and Son also in Asian Cup action.

“Pape felt his hamstring and he’s emotional because he wants to go away with his national team,” Postecoglou said.

“Disappointing for him but I am hoping it is not too serious and he can still go away and contribute to his country.

“Alejo was in a lot of pain.”

Sarr later suggested on X – formerly Twitter – that his injury was not as serious as first feared and that he would be available for Senegal duty next month.

He wrote (in French): “More fear than harm, see you at CAN!”

On Bentancur’s return, Postecoglou said: “I thought he was great today. Apart from the win, that was probably the most pleasing thing that he got through 60 minutes and he can help us from here on.”