Tottenham have ‘so much room for improvement’ – Son Heung-Min

MELBOURNE, Australia — Tottenham captain Son Heung-Min said on Tuesday that there is “so much room for improvement” after Ange Postecoglou’s first year at the club and that players will take responsibility for stepping up.

Son and his teammates flew into Postecoglou’s hometown of Melbourne on Tuesday morning for a post-season friendly against fellow Premier League side Newcastle United on Wednesday, with an 80,000-strong crowd expected at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

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Spurs finished the season in fifth place and secured a Europa League berth with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on the final day of the campaign, ending a one-year absence from European competition.

However, Son acknowledged that there was plenty of scope for improvement in year 2 of Postecoglou’s tenure.

“We’ve been talking about this quite a lot, after [Ange’s] first season and obviously, we could do so much better,” Son told reporters in Melbourne.

“We see that but I think we look forward. [The season is] gone and we should learn that there’s so much room for improvement.

“Next season will be so much better and the players will take responsibility for being [able to] step up and be disciplined.

“Where we finish, it’s because of us. Not anyone else. So we need to think about it and for next season, we can’t make the same mistakes.”

Spurs players boarded flights for Australia just hours after their win at Bramall Lane on Sunday with Postecoglou joking that they had lost an entire Monday amidst their trip Down Under.

With player loading and fatigue an increasingly contentious issue across the world’s top leagues, the Australian coach has already earmarked that post-season tours like this week’s won’t occur when the club has European fixtures to play.

But with FIFA last week moving to review regulations preventing domestic league games from being played internationally the prospect of more international travel looms large for Spurs and other Premier League sides in the years ahead.

“I guess it’s a challenge for everyone in terms of the football calendar, we know it’s getting more congested,” Postecoglou said.

“Sonny had to go to the Asian Cup in January, we had guys at AFCON. This offseason, we’ve got guys in the Euros and Copa America. So it is becoming challenging for footballers in particular because they don’t get the rest required.

“I guess for all the governing bodies, it’s about trying to get a calendar that allows the game to get exposed as much as possible, but also allows the players — who are the most important participants — to be able to perform at the highest level.”

For Son, his season will extend into next month’s international window after visiting Australia, with South Korea set to play World Cup qualifiers against Singapore and China on June 6 and 11.

South Korea are yet to name a full-time coach following the sacking of Jürgen Klinsmann after their elimination by Jordan in the semifinals of the Asian Cup, with former K-League coach Kim Do-hoon serving as caretaker this window.

“I have no contact with the federation [about the coaching situation],” Son said.

“It’s not my job, my job is playing on the pitch. If it takes time, it takes time. I think we need to find the right coach to bring success. There is no perfect decision.

“We’ve got to make sure that we bring in the right man to bring success. If it takes time, it takes time.”