Sarr: Ange's right, Spurs should follow 'warrior' Romero's lead

Pape Sarr has backed up his boss Ange Postecoglou’s comments on Cristian Romero, agreeing he and his team-mates should follow the lead of the “warrior” defender.

Romero produced a battling, all-action display in Spurs’ 3-2 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal on Sunday, popping up all over the pitch and pulling a goal back for his side having already hit the post and sent two headers wide in the game.

It was a performance that drew praise from Spurs boss Postecoglou, who called on the rest of his players to be more like Romero. He said: “He was outstanding. He’s a World Cup winner and I’ve just got to get some of what’s in him into some of the others.”

It’s a sentiment Sarr agrees with and the Spurs midfielder is delighted to have Argentine “winner” on his side.

Sarr on ‘winner’ and ‘warrior’ Romero…

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Highlights from the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

The coach is absolutely right,” Sarr told Sky Sports.

“Romero is a really hard worker. I often say he is a warrior. He’s a winner and he absolutely hates to lose.


“In terms of his mentality, out on the training pitch and in matches, it is always the same. That’s just how he is and he is certainly one of the leaders in the dressing room with the energy, commitment and determination that he brings to the team.

“It is something that helps us get across the line sometimes. When you look at the match against Arsenal, it’s not easy to put in that performance like he did in the second half. But he’s like that.

“He’s a winner and I’m really happy for what he brings to this team.”

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Romero is a really hard worker. I often say he is a warrior. He’s a winner and he absolutely hates to lose.

Sarr on Romero

‘Chelsea game a chance to bounce back’

Sarr battles with Declan Rice during the north London derby
Sarr battles with Declan Rice during the north London derby

Spurs will need more of Romero’s battling resolve when they face another London rival in Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, live on Sky Sports on Thursday (kick-off 7.30pm).

After the disappointment of defeat to Arsenal, it represents a quick chance for Postecoglou’s side – who also face a trip to Liverpool, live on Sky on Sunday (kick-off 4.30pm) – to bounce back in another London derby and keep their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League alive.

Thursday 2nd May 7:00pm

Kick off 7:30pm

Sunday 5th May 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

Sarr said: “Of course, the result against Arsenal was a disappointment. We didn’t expect that result.

“We played well in the first half but couldn’t score a goal. They were more decisive in that period and big matches are like that. You have to make your chances count.

“There is a big week ahead of us now and we are fully concentrated on that,” he added.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

“It’s a big challenge but we have already played a lot of big teams this year.

“Chelsea are a team who are in good form at the moment, but we are ready to take on the challenge to the best of our ability.”

Sarr on positives from Arsenal defeat…

Tottenham midfielder Pape Sarr:

“The positive aspect of the match against Arsenal was that we were able to keep the ball so well, particularly in the second half, and that’s something we are really going to concentrate on against Chelsea.

“Keeping the ball, keeping it moving and creating opportunities to score goals, they are our strengths.

“In the second half on Sunday, we really managed that, created opportunities and managed to score.”


Sarr on set-pieces: ‘We need to focus’

Spurs conceded two goals from corners against ARsenal

One challenge Spurs can expect at Chelsea is from set-pieces.

There’s been a lot of scrutiny around Tottenham’s set-piece work in recent months and particularly since Arsenal scored twice from corners in their 3-2 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Postecoglou was resolute in the aftermath of Sunday, suggesting fixing Spurs’ problems when defending set-pieces wasn’t the main issue he had to address, but the numbers do make difficult reading.

Tottenham have conceded 14 goals from set-pieces throughout the current season. Only the bottom four teams have conceded more, highlighting Postecoglou’s side’s issues when facing dead-ball situations.

Despite playing down any long-term concerns around Spurs’ set-piece problem, Sarr says Spurs are aware of the problem and he has called for focus as they try to improve.

Spurs’ frailties defending set-pieces against newcastle

“When it comes to set pieces, it’s not just us,” he said. “All teams have difficulties with set pieces at the moment because teams are so good at them that every set piece presents a chance for a goal.

“We all need to focus on this aspect.

“Defending set pieces is something that requires an awful lot of focus and we are aware of that.

“We need to take our responsibilities and make sure we do the job out on the pitch because certainly in training we are doing everything we need to and working really hard to make sure we are up to the challenge.

“The difficulty is that out on the pitch there is another team and they have also been working on that aspect of the game really hard. We just need to make sure we are fully concentrated on it.”

Spurs’ set-piece struggles in numbers…

  • Five teams have conceded more goals from defensive corners in the top-flight this season than Tottenham (nine), but only two – Manchester United (11.1) and Sheffield United (11.0) – have allowed their opponents more expected than Spurs (10.6).
  • Each shot Spurs have faced at a corner this season has had an average xG value of 0.11 – the second highest in the league after Aston Villa (0.14). Spurs have conceded 97 shots following corners, though, compared to just 68 for Villa.
  • Five teams have conceded more goals than Spurs from set-piece situations (12), but only United (15.3) and Burnley (14.9) have allowed their opponents a higher cumulative expected goals than Spurs (14.3).
  • 25.6% of the corners Spurs have faced have resulted in a shot from the first contact – a higher proportion than any other team.

‘I want to replay faith Ange has shown in me’

Sarr has hailed the influence of Postecoglou on his performances this season

It’s been somewhat of a breakthrough season for Sarr at Spurs.

He joined the north London club in August 2021 from Metz before spending the 2021/22 season back with the French club on loan.

Pape Sarr

The next season he made just two starts in nine appearances for Spurs in the Premier League, but under Postecoglou, the 21-year-old, who signed a new six-and-a-half year deal with the club in January, has been a key figure, making 22 starts in the league.

The Senegal international was quick to highlight the huge role Postecoglou has played in his development this season and insists he wants to repay the Australian’s faith in him.

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He’s shown a lot of faith and confidence in me and that is particularly important because last year I wasn’t playing so much. For that reason, I will never stop fighting for him out on the pitch.

Sarr on Postecoglou

“He’s helped me in every aspect of my game,” he said.

“He’s shown a lot of faith and confidence in me and that is particularly important because last year I wasn’t playing so much.


“For that reason, I will never stop fighting for him out on the pitch and never stop fighting for my team to make sure I don’t betray the trust he has put in me because it means a lot to me.

“I thank him enormously for that.”

Sarr on Spurs’ style under Postecoglou…

Spurs midfielder Pape Sarr:

“It’s up to the coach. He will have a look at how things are going and choose his style that he wants to put in place. It’s up to the players to follow him.

“We started with this style of play this year and we will finish with this style of play.

“Our coach, he’s the boss. He makes these decisions so whatever system he wants to put in place, we will follow him in that.”

Sarr targeting strong finish to season

 Pape Matar Sarr celebrates his equaliser
Sarr is hoping for a strong end to the season with Spurs

Spurs’ fight to reach the Champions League continues on Thursday, live on Sky Sports and they have some ground to makeup on fourth-placed Aston Villa, who are seven points ahead of Postecoglou’s side in fifth.

However, with Spurs having two games in hand on Villa, Sarr isn’t giving up hope just yet and is targeting a strong finish to the season.

“The most important this is to win all our matches,” he said.

“If we win all our matches, we’ll finish high enough.

“Our objective now is to win all our matches and finish as high as we can.

“The aim is absolutely to win these matches. We have to win our remaining matches to finish this season in the best way possible.

“Next season will also be here before you know it and if we can manage to put a few wins on the bounce together, that will put us in the best position possible for next year.”

Sarr on being a midfielder in Postecoglou’s system…

Spurs midfielder Pape Sarr:

“We have lot of great midfielders here at Spurs. Each has their own individual style, and it is up to the coach to select between us.
What we try to do is put in place the plans he gives out to us on the field.

“Yes, we do have an attacking style, but the midfielders are also required, asked and demanded to put a shift in defensively as well.

“There might be occasions where the opposition score goals on the counter-attack because we are too open or we’ve been too attacking, so there is definitely a balance that we have to have there.”

Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham on Thursday, live on Sky Sports from 7pm; kick-off 7.30pm.

Tottenham’s remaining fixtures

May 2: Chelsea (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 5: Liverpool (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 11: Burnley (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 14: Man City (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: Sheffield United (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

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