As the football season settles the only thing I’ve really had to moan about until now has been VAR which is too ridiculously and frequently inconsistent to start ranting about every weekend so I’ve refrained to jump on the bandwagon of those either for or against as I’ve lost all patience with a) the tool itself b) it’s discrepancy and c) the rules of the game which I no longer (despite playing the game for over 30 years) understand.
But away from Stockley Park and back on the pitch the hype of those doing well midst any temporary form also hasn’t concerned me enough to write in recent weeks. Liverpool are going strong, City too but with the odd slip up which can be expected, everyone else bar Leicester has been average… So to learn that Mauricio Pochettino the great Argentine gaffer of Spurs and the man who’s led them to challenging the elite with a highest ever Premier League finish (in 2017) and taking them to a first ever Champions League final (last season) has been sacked… Is well… quite surprising but not that surprising considering the clubs current league form and that despite often having his hands tied behind his back when it comes to Daniel Levy’s transfer & wage policy he seems to have taken Spurs pretty much as far as they can go (probably down to the fact that he has his hands tied behind his back due to Daniel Levy’s transfer & wage policy)?
So to learn today, less than 24 hours after Pochettino has been sacked that his replacement is no other than Jose Mourinho… I instantly wonder what Levy has promised him?
Firstly as a football fan, not a Spurs fan but one that enjoys good games, good tactics, good management styles and good teams I want to thank Poch for what he’s done at Tottenham Hotspur and in the Premier League. Moving up from Southampton was a step I thought he might have struggled to take, but it soon became apparent that with the right recruitment and philosophy that he would make Spurs strong in all departments and difficult to beat. I still say today that arguably they have an XI as good as City or Liverpool? The issue is that they haven’t strengthened in depth as well as the two that dominate in England when it comes to fighting for silverware which perhaps is the reason Poch has paid the price?
Spurs although flirting with silverware under Pochettino haven’t really fought for it… And that is where a serial winner like Mourinho can come in. With keeping players content on a wage and without bringing (enough) new players in to bolster the squad the Argentine has perhaps taken the club as far as he can under the current circumstances and Levy shrewd in business has perhaps lined this up a while back now.
Mourinho is a serial trophy winner, love him or hate him I actually think his style maybe suited to Spurs who don’t have a desire like Manchester United or Real Madrid perhaps to play attractive ‘winning’ football… The fans at Tottenham’s impressive new stadium I guarantee would sacrifice some attractive football for winning football and for Mourinho it could be right club, right place, right time as he can take Spurs to the level up from what Pochettino has so far achieved.
Let’s face it he could only be a short term solution (if previous records are anything to go by) but he already has the ingredients at the club to ensure he plays in the style the way he usually likes both strong and disciplined at the back, he has tough physical midfielders that work hard off the ball and are efficient in possession, he has pace down the sides important in counter-attack and he has a striker, a big number nine very much perfect in the style he requires.
The key to Mourinho is perhaps what he’s been promised by Levy. January and the transfer window is just around the corner and not that Mourinho needs to strengthen he still might? He will also need to resolve the futures of Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld who may now reconsider their position of playing for a club that has a winning mentality. Playing for Mourinho they now have a manager and coach that is up there with the best in the business when it comes to trophies. A real pull for players existing and new?
The doubts might be that Mourinho has had his day? His style is now dated and players want to ‘play’… But those that will listen and buy into the philosophy will learn a key tactical ingredient to their game and in the basics Spurs already have, they could easily be the strongest defensive unit in the country, and in attack, when you have Harry Kane you always have a chance.
I certainly feel Spurs have levelled up with the capture of Mourinho, although sad to see Poch go he’s taken the club as far as he can and already talked about leaving in the summer when he perhaps in hindsight should have gone head and chin firmly on the up.
First target to hit is now to get Tottenham fighting for a Champions League position and moving up the Premier Division, whilst any decent cup run will be a bonus this year, next season in particular (if he’s not already done so) I would 100% back Tottenham to win their first trophy since 2008.
It might be a rocky ride of emotion and it might not end well, but you won’t get a team tossing it in domestic cups to line Levy’s pockets in the league, instead he’ll be all about winning which is exactly what the fans at Tottenham Hotspur need right now.