Tottenham Hotspur

There is hope again for Tottenham in the post-Jose Mourinho era

Jude Summerfield
Apr 19, 2021, 11:36 AM GMT+1
It's the end of the line for Mourinho at Spurs
It's the end of the line for Mourinho at Spurs | Pool/Getty Images
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When Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham back in November 2019, he promised a new philosophy and said he loved the squad he was inheriting.

"I think I am new and improved. I have to believe so," he said at the time. "I am humble, humble enough to try and analyse my career - not just the last year, but the whole thing, the evolution, the problems and the solutions. Not to blame anyone else."

Well, old habits die hard.

Given the chance to help Tottenham switch from nearly men to winners, Mourinho called on outdated tactics and media swipes towards the end of his spell, showing nothing had ever really changed and that the brief period Spurs were top of the Premier League earlier this season - yes, that really was this season - counted for nothing.

Any semblance of style and tactics has disappeared for Spurs' team in recent weeks. While there is undeniably a need for a revamp in defence, there are more than enough players in the squad to achieve something more than seventh as things stand.

Players like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso are capable of playing together and making Tottenham a more than decent attacking outfit, not just solely reliant on moments of inspiration from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Unfortunately, that's what Mourinho's style revolves around: The belief that moments of quality and individual mistakes ultimately decide matches, and that modern day tactics pretty much aren't necessary.

We've seen a Tottenham side struggle painfully to pass the ball around, and the cluelessness around team selection has been horrible. The central defenders have all flustered at points this season, and yet three were played in the 2-2 draw with Everton.

Mourinho's constant criticism of his players was also far detached from Pochettino's way of handling his squad, and while some fans got on board with the 'players aren't good enough' agenda he seemed to push, most were wise enough to see it for what it was: Simple deflection away from Mourinho's coaching and managerial methods no longer being the best in the world. Tottenham have not progressed since his arrival and are on course for their worst league finish since 2008/09, so his sacking was both inevitable and necessary.

Whatever anyone says, more can be achieved with this Tottenham team.

That's not to say that they'll be running away with the Premier League next season - if they're still in that competition at that time - but solid signings in central defence and at right-back would help put them back into that top four picture.

Now comes an incredibly important period for the club. The right appointment must be made - Brendan Rodgers, Nuno Espirito Santo and Julian Nagelsmann have all been linked - to help this squad reach its potential.

Jose Mourinho
The face of most Spurs supporters since Mourinho took charge | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Who knows what the landscape of football will look like come the time when Tottenham have a shiny new manager in their dugout ready to be introduced at their stadium, but performances can only get better from here - that's how low the bar was under Mourinho.

Will it be enjoyable? Will The Super League be an improvement on what's come before? Almost certainly not; in fact it's a more damning indictment on the greedy state modern day football finds itself in.

But hey, Tottenham can start again with a clean slate and you won't have to deal with any more silly Mourinistas, so that's something to cheer for, right?

For more from Jude Summerfield, follow him on Twitter!

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