Mourinho: Spurs Saviour or is the Jury Still Out?
In the days when Jose Mourinho was winning Champions League trophies and Premier League titles, few could have imagined that he would one day manage Spurs. At the time, we were barely challenging for those Champions League slots and even the most hardened of Tottenham supporters would have found the scenario hard to envisage.
The very fact that Jose is now in the hot seat is a testament to how far the club has come but, the reasons for that are all down to his predecessor. The departure of Mauricio Pochettino is still very raw for many of us and that’s why Mourinho hasn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms.
First Term Report
Jose Mourinho is a winner but lately, his reputation hasn’t always been positive. Accused of causing divisions within clubs and turning entertaining units into machines, he may not appear to be the best fit for Spurs. The questions, as we reach the end of the 2019/20 campaign are whether or not he is a good fit for Tottenham and, has he had his day or is that winning mentality set to drive us towards silverware?
With the exception of Porto, Jose has been at clubs where the owners haven’t been afraid to throw the chequebook around to pay exorbitant transfer fees and astronomical wages. That isn’t the case at Tottenham but he has inherited a club that made it to the final of the Champions League less than a year prior to his appointment.
Many of that squad remain and in Harry Kane, Jose has one of the most prolific strikers to have ever played the game at his disposal. It’s a good platform but what happens next?
The Numbers Game
Before we tackle that question, it’s time to take a look at Mourinho’s performance since he came to the club in November 2019. When he arrived at the new White Hart Lane, Tottenham were in 14th place and, by the time that the season eventually came to an end, we had finished sixth. From the threat of a mid-table finish, we have an automatic Europa League slot and, while it could always have been better, surely that’s as much as we could have expected after such a poor start.
Mourinho could do little in terms of the cup competitions. We progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League once again but fell at the first hurdle at the hands of a strong RB Leipzig unit. Jose presided over our FA Cup fifth round defeat to Norwich City while we had already been put out of the EFL Cup by the time he arrived in North London.
As for his league record, if you ever needed confirmation that stats can be used to prove anything, you just have to type something relevant into Google. A story from the tabloids at the start of July screamed that Mourinho had already lost more Premier League games as Spurs manager than he did in his first two seasons with Chelsea.
While the tabloid in question will have surely done their research to back that up, it’s not a fair comparison between our team as it was in November and the Chelsea side of the mid-2000s.
Meanwhile, Jose himself was reminding reporters last weekend that the form guide put us in fourth since he took over. That’s a fairer assessment, and although we had already played some tough games before he moved in, it’s certainly more encouraging.
Meanwhile, Mourinho’s win percentage in the EPL currently stands at 50% while Poch left with 55.94% over a much bigger sample size.
The numbers are interesting at this stage but it’s far too early to make a really fair assessment on whether Mourinho was the right appointment. Like Pochettino and others before him, we can really only do that when the reign is over but it would be hard to argue that this isn’t a promising start.
Moving into the future, the first aim has to be to get back into the Champions League and, from there, we need to be picking up silverware. We have such a nice new stadium that it would be a shame not to host the biggest teams in Europe in the continent’s major club competition.
To achieve that, Jose needs to start by assessing the squad that he inherited. Speculation over the future of Harry Kane will surely start to build while vultures could also circle over the likes of Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min. When he arrived at Spurs, Jose promised to turn them into winners and the general view is that the biggest names will give him a full season at the very least.
Next there is the question of who comes in and whether Mourinho will be backed by big budgets. He’s unlikely to get the purse that he’s used to so he’ll have to start scouting below the biggest earners rather than just throw cash at football’s superstars.
Keeping a harmonious dressing room is another task to achieve and to prove that he isn’t quite as toxic as some of the media would want us all to believe. In summary, the jury is very much out and only time will tell if this was the right appointment. The problem for many fans is that, while Jose Mourinho may have been the best available manager in November 2019, was it really right to replace the man that had done so much for the club?