Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho vs Tim Sherwood: Assessing who was the better Tottenham manager

By Sean Walsh
What a couple of jokers
What a couple of jokers / AFP/Getty Images

Now there's an article headline I never thought I'd have to write.

One of the very best managers this sport has ever seen, someone whose legacy will live through the ages and...no, I can't even joke about it, this is Jose Mourinho, not Tim Sherwood.

But if you were just to look at their spells in charge of Spurs, then there is definitely room for comparison. In 50 years time when kids are looking back through the history books while we're all living on Mars because we've destroyed this planet, they're going to wonder if the Special One was really that special by the time he got to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Yeah, we're not sure either, Jose
Yeah, we're not sure either, Jose / Clive Rose/Getty Images

So luckily for them, this is the yardstick in time that they need to review, the true measure of how good Mourinho was at Spurs - was he a better manager than the universally unpopular Sherwood?

Premier League record

Let's start with the bare facts.

Games - 47
Wins - 21
Draws - 12
Losses - 14
Win percentage - 44.6%
Total points - 75
Points per game - 1.59
Points per 38-game season - 60.4

Games - 22
Wins - 13
Draws - 3
Losses - 6
Win percentage - 59% (second to none)
Total points - 42
Points per game - 1.91
Points per 38-game season - 72.5

What can't speak can't lie.

Winner - Tim Sherwood

Cup record

Unfortunately for Sherwood, he only won one of his six cup ties at Spurs, whereas Mourinho has at least reached a final.

Neither have won anything (yet), mind, but fair's fair.

Winner - Jose Mourinho

Big game record

Kyle Walker was utilised as a right-winger vs Chelsea by Sherwood
Kyle Walker was utilised as a right-winger vs Chelsea by Sherwood / AFP/Getty Images

Of the few games that Spurs fans circle in their calendars each season and note as 'must not lose', Sherwood managed to get battered in every single one of them, so well done mate.

At least Mourinho has chalked up some memorable wins against Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City. Still has far fewer points per game, but at least he's taken some scalps along the way.

Winner - Jose Mourinho


Comedy, not sketch comedy
Comedy, not sketch comedy / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Shoutout to 90min's Jude Summerfield who was torn apart for a few weeks in the autumn for writing that watching Tottenham under Mourinho was sad. Guess what, lads? He was right. There's nothing enjoyable about this anymore.

What the Portuguese coach brings in terms of content will come later, but for Spurs fans, it's just not that funny.

For instance, Sherwood brought a number of simply funny things to the table: not 'believing' in defensive midfielders, saluting Emmanuel Adebayor, his unintentional and constant Kirk Van Houten impression, and to top it all off, creating an atmosphere that led to Aaron Lennon having to deny big Tim had punched a player.

Amazon's All or Nothing Documentary came far too late.

Winner: Tim Sherwood

Love the shirt factor

As 90s as you can get
As 90s as you can get / Ben Radford/Getty Images

Don't think that either of these fellas will give much of a toss about Tottenham for the rest of their lives once Mourinho leaves for good.

The current head coach will most likely be remembered on these shores as a Chelsea legend. Sherwood openly admitted that he's an Arsenal fan. But at least the latter made some good contributions for the club in his playing days, so he takes the spoils here, but it's nothing to shout about.

Winner: Tim Sherwood

Style of play

Spurs' gameplans under Sherwood would look like this
Spurs' gameplans under Sherwood would look like this / LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

Now I mentioned Sherwood said he doesn't believe in defensive midfielders, and to prove it, he once played a double pivot of Nacer Chadli and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

It wasn't a very good pairing, obviously - what the hell were you expecting? - but Sherwood's Spurs didn't just camp in their own half and knock it around as cluelessly as Mourinho's version. And this is a man who definitely does believe in defensive midfielders. So why are your teams still so poor defensively, Jose?

Winner: Tim Sherwood

Youth development

Upon leaving White Hart Lane, Sherwood made a big song and dance about his role in bringing through young players at Spurs.

It's quite overstated just how important a figure he was for players like Harry Kane and Nabil Bentaleb (he only really integrated the former once he knew he wasn't staying beyond the end of the 2013/14 season), but he still at least gave the youngsters a chance.

On the other hand, Mourinho did claim that fans shouldn't ask for teenage striker Troy Parrott to play because they wouldn't even know what he looks like. Tough choice to make.

Winner: Tim Sherwood


I SAID, 'WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH AIRLINE FOOD?' / Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe would be unable to match the poetry that has passed the lips of these two literary behemoths.

Tactics Tim's 'I ain't never felt this bad never' is an irreplaceable piece of art, but Joyous Jose's got a whole album full of classics.

The 3-0 rant, football 'eritage, preferring not to speak...oh man, now I'm actually gonna miss Mourinho once he's out of the game.

Winner: Jose Mourinho

The Hard Garm award, sponsored by The Switch

What a stunner
What a stunner / IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

The Switch's Hunter Godson isn't a fan of Sherwood's gilet, as iconic as it is.

Mourinho's fits are rather timeless, anyway. Can always count on him to show up in a nice jacket and pair of shoes. Pep Guardiola wishes he could look as effortless, the big, bald try-hard.

Winner: Jose Mourinho


Stick that in the trophy cabinet
Stick that in the trophy cabinet / Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Subjectively, Sherwood's lows were never as low as Mourinho's.

Objectively, Sherwood's lows were never as low as Mourinho's.

Both reigns have brought a feeling of emptiness among fans, but when you break it down, it's never been as bad for modern Spurs as it is now. To outdo Sherwood is a tough feat, but one that serial winner Mourinho can proudly boast.

Hey Alexa, play Out of Touch by Hall & Oates.

FINAL SCORE: Tim Sherwood 5-4 Jose Mourinho

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