Tottenham Hotspur

There's many problems at Tottenham right now but Paulo Fonseca isn't the answer

Ross Jackson
Jun 9, 2021, 10:00 PM GMT+1
Paulo Fonseca is on the verge of being appointed as Spurs boss
Paulo Fonseca is on the verge of being appointed as Spurs boss / Soccrates Images/Getty Images
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A few weeks ago you may recall Jose Mourinho was appointed as Roma manager and the belly laughs from Tottenham fans at the misery they were about to be subjected to could be heard all the way over in Rome.

Funny how these things have a way of coming back to bite you in the backside, isn't it?

It was recently revealed that the longest hunt for a new manager in footballing history was finally about to be brought to an end, with Spurs expected to name Paulo Fonseca as their new boss.

Yep, that Fonseca - the very man Mourinho replaced at Roma. We're not sure what the Italian for 'belly laugh' is, but you can be sure Roma fans are returning the favour.

When Daniel Levy revealed he intended to appoint a new manager before the end of the season having cut ties with Mourinho in April, alarm bells should have immediately started ringing for the Tottenham fan base.

The comment smacked of an intended powerplay, as if to say 'we're a huge club and as soon as we decide which manager we want he'll be ours in no time'. As well as the arrogance of it all, surely Spurs fans would want their chairman to evaluate his options and interview a host of candidates before choosing the right man to take the club forward, not just grab the first manager that caught his eye?

Paulo Fonseca is on his way to the Premier League
Paulo Fonseca is on his way to the Premier League / Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Anyway, irrespective of Levy's motives behind the comment, it all started to look a bit stupid as candidate after candidate fell by the wayside.

The news that Fonseca is being lined up to take charge has come from absolutely nowhere and it makes you wonder, is this just Levy's way of getting someone through the door to save further embarrassment?

After all, his track record is hardly glistening with silverware.

At least with Mourinho there was always the 'proven winner' argument to throw at any critics of his appointment - barring a spell at the helm of serial Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, Fonseca's 13-year managerial career has gleaned little more than the Portuguese version of the Community Shield with Porto, and a domestic cup from his time at Braga.

Hardly Mourinho level stuff.

Jose Mourinho replaced Paulo Fonseca at Roma
Jose Mourinho replaced Paulo Fonseca at Roma / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

While the mooted appointment of Fonseca really does seem incredibly underwhelming following talk of Brendan Rodgers and in particular Antonio Conte, it's difficult to argue that the former Roma boss doesn't fit the brief outlined by Levy in terms of the club looking for a manager with a progressive style of play.

However, Spurs' struggles this season haven't spawned from their inability to score goals - regardless of what Mourinho haters will tell you - it's their leaky backline that's let them down.

Fonseca's defensive nous leaves a lot to be desired and if Levy really is serious about building a side capable of challenging for the top four, then the first area of the squad which desperately needs addressing is their backline.

Of all the names that were mentioned as Tottenham's hunt for a manager went on, many of them were the kind of managers you'd expect to bring a philosophy and style of play with them to the club, the kind of manager that would be backed by the board and given time to settle in north London.

And to be honest it was refreshing to see they'd learned their lesson after hiring a boss who might win a trophy but will never hang around for longer than two or three seasons - instead they've gone and hired a carbon copy without the 'winning a trophy' bit.

In both of Fonseca's seasons at Roma he failed to achieve qualification for the Champions League and poor performances in big games eventually saw I Giallorossi's hierarchy pull the trigger - so what is it that Spurs can see that Roma can't?

Only time will tell whether appointing Fonseca is a good move, but from the outset it looks all wrong for what Tottenham need right now and the club's dramatic slump over the past few seasons could be about to accelerate at a significant pace.

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