A flick through the internet or back pages of more traditional media channels would tell you that Jose Mourinho is far from excelling since replacing Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham with a hashtag of #mourinhoout even featuring on some social media platforms.
Despite that, a look at the league table suggests the Portuguese is actually doing quite well. Here we take in depth look at how he’s been performing.
Last season Tottenham reached the Champions League final under the tutelage of Pochettino, but the 2019/20 campaign didn’t pick up where things left off. When Mourinho was named as Spurs’ new boss the club found themselves languishing in 14th position having won just three of their opening 12 games.
The decision to sack ‘Poch’ was met with some surprise given the job he’d done at White Hart Lane (and Wembley). The self-proclaimed Special One was soon announced as his successor though and most of the Tottenham fan base were delighted.
Yes, Mourinho has a strong past with their rivals, Chelsea, but the guy delivers trophies. He’s done it at every club he’s ever been at. It’s what Spurs want and, more importantly, it’s what they need with players such as Harry Kane likely to have their heads turned in the next year or two if silverware doesn’t arrive.
Results, results, results
The main question mark over Mourinho is the style of play he tends to bring with him. Some see him as a man who has been left behind as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp field teams that blow others away with attacking football whilst others see him for what he is, a tactical genius who will do whatever it takes to win. That is what is important after all.
In the very early days of his reign, Spurs looked very un-Jose like. They scored 14 goals in his first five games in charge but looked defensively suspect. The points were still rolling in though. Within three weeks he’d marched them from 14th all the way up to fifth with a match against Chelsea offering the possibility of leapfrogging them into the Champions League places. The Blues ran out comfortable 2-0 winners though to give Mourinho his second taste of defeat in the Tottenham dugout – the first having come against another of his old clubs, Manchester United.
By March 7th, Spurs were three league games without a win and an impressive 2-0 victory over Man City was long forgotten. The prospect of a trophy had evaporated too with Norwich, who have since been relegated from the top tier, knocking them out of the FA Cup whilst RB Leipzig taught his players a harsh lesson in the Champions League. Supporters and pundits everywhere began to question Mourinho.
It was harsh criticism though. Had the season started when Mourinho arrived his team would have been level on points with fourth place and just two behind third. Throw into the mix that he was dealing with a team missing both Kane and Son Heung-Min – along with others – and it’s fair to say things were not going too badly.
Becoming a Mourinho team
The coronavirus suspension isn’t what anyone wanted. It hasn’t been too bad for Spurs though despite the fact their new swanky stadium is now empty on matchdays. It allowed Mourinho time with his team, his star players were given a chance to recover from injuries and their poor form heading into the break was in the past.
Since the restart, they’ve been terrific – with the exception of a one-off shambolic display against Sheffield United. In the form table they sit just one point behind Guardiola’s Man City who head the league. That’s all the more impressive when you consider their fixtures have hardly been a breeze either with Man United, Arsenal and Leicester all unable to take maximum points off Tottenham.
Further than that, if you study results since Mourinho masterminded Tottenham’s first away win of 2020 with a 3-2 victory over West Ham in his inaugural game in charge, they would be in fourth place.
Even with the handicap Mourinho inherited from ‘Poch’ his team are guaranteed to finish above the enemy that is Arsenal and they’re still odds on for a Europa League spot too. Regardless of whether or not they get the job done in their final match against Crystal Palace though there are signs that Spurs will be a strong team next season.
Say what you want about Mourinho but almost everything in the post-Covid matches suggests his players are on board with his methods.
When that happens, you can expect the wins to come rolling in. Just like the best NBA expert picks, Mourinho is always guarantee of quality and reliability. Write off Jose Mourinho at your peril, but the Special One has won trophies at all the clubs he managed. And we know how Spurs are craving for some silverware!