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Postecoglou tells Spurs players to enjoy post-season Australia trip

Tottenham Hotspur coach Ange Postecoglou insisted Tuesday that his players will enjoy facing Newcastle in Melbourne despite a gruelling trip from England just hours after the Premier League season ended.

Both teams headed to the airport following games on Sunday for an arduous 24-hour journey for a money-spinning friendly that has drawn criticism, with Newcastle legend Alan Shearer calling it “madness”.

But Postecoglou, back in his home country for the first time in five years, told his team to relish playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of an expected 80,000 fans on Wednesday.

“I said to the lads, ‘I know it’s a long way but I think you’ll enjoy playing at the G’,” Postecoglou, who guided Spurs to fifth and Europa League qualification in his first season in charge, told a pre-match press conference.

“It’s not easy because we played Sheffield on Sunday afternoon and we basically got straight on the plane to come out here. So we all lost Monday from our lives.

“But we’re here now and hopefully when the boys walk out tomorrow night and there’s 80,000 people at the G, the rest of it is irrelevant, and I’m sure they are looking forward to it.”

Both sides have brought strong squads with James Maddison, Micky van de Ven and skipper Son Heung-min all in the Tottenham party.

Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak headline the Newcastle squad.

Ahead of their departure for Australia, Trippier, who is likely to be in the England squad for the European Championships next month, said the match was “not ideal”.

The Euros start on June 14 with the Copa America kicking off six days later.

But Newcastle boss Eddie Howe called it a “brilliant opportunity” to showcase the club.

“That’s one of the beauties of the trip, that you get to visit a place that you maybe normally wouldn’t go,” he said after the Magpies ended their season with a 4-2 win at Brentford, securing a seventh-place finish.

“We’re cocooned in England and you understand there’s a wider support base, but if you’re not exposed to it, I think it’s difficult to understand it.

“When we go on these trips we learn more about the support and how fanatical it is in different parts of the world and it’s always great to see.

“It’s important that we grow the name of Newcastle every opportunity we get.”

While Spurs play only one game in Australia, Newcastle also have a friendly against an A-League All Stars side on Friday, again in Melbourne.

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