Tottenham Hotspur shocked the footballing world earlier today. Sacking Mauricio Pochettino after a chaotic start to 2019/20 will inevitably be the headline of every tabloid tomorrow. The man who rebuilt a shattered Spurs squad into a title competing, top 4 guaranteeing (until this season) and Champions League finalist side in five years.. An incredible period that unfortunately had no silverware to show for. But his likely successor Jose Mourinho knows all about winning trophies...
According to multiple credible sources, including Sky Sports News, the Portuguese is in talks with the North London side to become their next manager. An announcement could be as quick as tomorrow, if talks go swiftly. This is a statement of intent by Spurs. Sacking one of their best ever managers for a poor start to the season and appointing one of the greatest managers of all time. It shows ambition.
Is Jose the Jose Mourinho of 10 years ago? The treble winning underdog who proved all his critics wrong? Many would argue no, perhaps they’re right:
Jose Mourinho’s recent history isn’t great…
Despite winning the Premier League in his second spell at Chelsea, the following season was a disaster to say the least. The Eva Carneiro saga and a toxic atmosphere that saw Chelsea drop from champions to a relegation battle. Mourinho had pushed Abramovich too far which costed him his job. Still, the former Porto manager had proven he still had it. People saw this 2015/16 disaster as an anomaly on Jose’s remarkable C.V.
Then Manchester United came calling. An acquisition that excited the Old Trafford faithful the most since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Mourinho was expected to bring back the glory days to Manchester. It didn’t quite go as planned. A Europa League, League Cup and Champions League football in his first season was a considered a success. A 2nd place finish was still acceptable for the Red Devils, despite the uninspiring and ‘boring’ football. But a poor start to 2018/19 was enough for the 2 time Champions League winning manager to get the sack.
Financial demands and 3rd season syndrome
Now, his stock had fallen for the first time in his career. The Special One had supposedly lost his touch. Losing his last two jobs has seen two big questions asked about the 56 year old:
Whether he can operate on a low budget anymore, considering the financial capital that has been available to him recently,remains to be seen It’s been a while since his miraculous period at Porto and hundreds of millions spent still couldn’t bring the Premier League back to the red of Manchester. Daniel Levy is notorious for being tight with the finances. Whether that be with the club’s wage structure or transfers. Granted the recent purchase of the stadium means he can’t afford to ‘splash the cash’ as such. But will there be a friction-less relationship between him and Jose? I wouldn’t put money on it…
This now notorious ‘3 season syndrome’ that has clouded Jose Mourinho his entire career. Even during his most decorated spells. His inability to stay at a club for a prolonged period of time makes clubs looking to establish long term stability as well as a vision makes him less desirable. It’s almost becoming a gamble. Either he’s a glittering success within two seasons or he’s out of the door. Not the most reassuring statement for a chairman or the fans.
Was it ALL Jose Mourinho’s fault?
But on the flip side, Jose Mourinho’s CV speaks for itself. Champions Leagues, a treble, league titles won in Italy, Spain and England. He is the definition of a serial winner. The fact he has rejected proposals from China suggests he still has that hunger and desire to win. As you would accept from someone as accomplished as him.
Mourinho loves being the underdog, something Spurs have been pretty much since the start of the Premier League. At Porto against Europe’s elite, the underdog. When he was new to the Premier League against the duopoly of Manchester United and Arsenal, underdog. When he stunned the mighty Barcelona at the Camp Nou with Inter. Underdog. He will relish the chance to defy the odds, silence his critics and potentially bring some silverware to, a fair to say, barren Spurs trophy cabinet.
It could also be argued that the former Los Blancos and Nerazzurri manager wasn’t completely at fault for his last failures. Chelsea players, prior to Frank Lampard, had shown their habit of downing tools under multiple managers. Mourinho, Conte, even Sarri for the first half of the season. Three managers that all left within 2 years. There’s a common denominator here…
At Manchester United, yes he spent ridiculous sums of money. But didn’t he have to with what he was up against? A Pep Guardiola Manchester City side that has had endless sums of cash poured into it. A Liverpool team that have spent world record fees on their defence. It’s not as if he’s the odd one out here. High levels of spending is normal, especially in this modern day market with inflated prices. It’s not as if Mourinho has a huge financial edge over his competition.
Moreover, that United side is hardly thriving since his departure. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is only two points above the managerless Spurs side. Says it all really. To win 2 trophies (not counting the Community Shield), reach an FA Cup final and finish 2nd with that squad isn’t exactly glittering success. But it’s not failure either. The treble winning coach doesn’t call it one of his greatest achievements for no reason…
In terms of the style of play, it’s not pretty on the eye. I’ll agree with that. But pragmatism has got Jose to where he is today. If defensive football and ‘parking the bus’ can win games against the big sides, Spurs fans won’t complain.
Jose Mourinho – Can he do it AGAIN?
If Jose Mourinho is able to instil that winning mentality into this Tottenham side, this could be massive for the league. This is EXACTLY the situation the three time Premier League champion wants. Underdog, doubters and fair to say low expectations. I genuinely think Tottenham will take Top 6 this season. I mean, they’re 14th for goodness sake.
But if the toxicity from his last two jobs carries over to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, we could be in for quite a ride. It’s a do or die situation for Mourinho too. If he ends up getting sacked from this job with minimal success, that’s his career in top tier football over. However, he’s the Special One for a reason. Never underestimate him…
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