Following a disastrous start of their 2019/20 campaign, Tottenham Hotspur opted for a drastic move as they waved goodbye to their now-former head coach Mauricio Pochettino who was with the team for over five years. As his replacement, Tottenham brought in Jose Mourinho, who will return to the EPL for the fourth time. But is Mourinho the right man to save Tottenham’s sinking ship or has the Portuguese mastermind lost his magic touch?
To say Tottenham have gone through tough times in 2019/20 season of EPL would be an understatement. As a team who appeared in the finals of UCL in 2018/19 season, a lot of expectations were put on them to perform and maybe even contest the EPL title. That said, their season went in a completely opposite direction. As Tottenham approach round 13 of EPL, they are sitting at a disappointing 14th place in the league, with a disastrous 3-5-4 record and 14 points next to their name, meaning Spurs averaged 1.17 points per game for the first third of the season. It goes without saying that is miles from what fans and the board expected from Pochettino and his men, and the ultimate decision had to be made. Pochettino who has been with the team for over five years and helped Tottenham reach the historic achievement last season by reaching the finals of UCL has been let go in favour of Jose Mourinho, who has been appointed as a new head coach of Tottenham on November 20, 2019. As reported the Portuguese mastermind signed a four-year contract with the team, which marked his fourth venture in the EPL after coaching Chelsea (twice) and Manchester United. Without any doubt, Mourinho is one of the best managers in the Premier League.
As a coach, Mourinho needs no special introduction. He is widely known for his tactical prowess, game management and his ability to adapt to different situations, but will he be able to adapt to his new club? The biggest concern surrounding Mourinho is the fact that he was let go from man United in 2018/19 season after claiming only seven wins in first 17 Premier League games, leaving Manchester United 19 points behind league leaders. As a coach who was let go due to the disastrous performance of his club, Mourinho has now found himself on the other side of the stick, seeing how he is seen as the man who will save a club from a similar position. It’s also worth noting Tottenham are in a far worse spot compared to Man United last season, considering Spurs have only three wins in 12 league games. Furthermore, they are 20 points behind the league leaders. That said, not everything is lost for them, as they are only three points short of making it into the top five and 11 points short of making it into top four. With that in mind, Tottenham have a chance to end the season on a positive note, but having a chance to do so does not necessarily mean they will be able to do it. It’s also worth to mention that Mourinho had been related to Manchester United a few months ago.
When Mourinho arrived he claimed he will do all in his power to help Tottenham reclaim their former glory, or in the position they are now, it would be better to say to save them from the hole they have found themselves into. In his words, Mourinho stated he is going to “eat, sleep and breathe Tottenham, wearing their tracksuit by day and pyjamas by night”. While that alone does not tell us a lot about his plans on how he will help Tottenham, it’s obvious he is determined to make Spurs fans proud. At the end of the day, he does not only owe good result to Tottenham and their fans but also to himself. Widely recognised as one of the best football coaches in the world, Mourinho failed to recapture his glory days in recent years and even that would be an understatement, seeing how he got sacked by Man United due to disastrous performance of the Red Devils in the first half of last season. That said, in an interview, Mourinho stated Premier League is his natural habitat, his life and a place where he belongs, which are very bold claims, yet claims Mourinho has all the right to make. He has claimed three EPL titles, one FA Cup, two Community Shields and four EFL Cups to go along his other achievements. While all praiseworthy achievements, we still can’t look past the fact he left Chelsea in 2016 after losing nine out of 16 games, and his venture with Man United was not all that good either. Some believe the magic he had is gone and that Mourinho is not as good of a coach as we were used to seeing.
Mourinho on the other side remains confident in his ability, seeing how he claimed he believes Tottenham are a very strong team, more than capable of contesting for the title next season, despite being 11 points adrift of the top four. Mourinho did state winning the title this season is not likely, however, remains determined to turn the team around and help them break into the top part of the league table. While he claimed he will add some tweaks to the team to implement his own style, he also stated his plan is to not deviate too much from the work Pochettino did. When asked how well Tottenham play under him, Mourinho stated
“Very similar to before. That’s what I keep saying. Very similar to before. Of course, I’m going to try to add some details, and sometimes details can make the difference, and progressively we will arrive to a fingerprint. But the style of play has to be always adapted, not just to the club culture but especially the players’ qualities. That’s the way it is.”
Will his magic touch be enough to save Tottenham’s sinking ship is anyone’s guess, as there are two camps of people who can’t agree on the final answer. Some believe he is a huge upgrade for Tottenham due to his impeccable knowledge of the game and elite-level skill of coaching, others believe Mourinho has lost his magic touch. Which side is right is at this point a mystery, however, in the state, Tottenham are currently in, it would be hard to make the matters worse for them.