Mourinho and Tottenham - The Perfect Match

On 19 November 2019, Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspurs, with his side 14th in the Premier League table he was replaced only 12 hours later by none other than "the Special One"Jose Mourinho. In a shock dismissing and even more shocking appointing this move seemed on surface a radical one made of fear at missing out of European games. Mourinho who in 2015 said, he could never manage Tottenham, is known for his pragmatic "park the bus" style. A kind of soccer that Tottenham fans have not seen over the last 5 1/2 years. From the outside, this union looks like it could be over before it starts. Mourinho has spent more money in transfers (1 billion pounds overall) than any other manager in history. In contrast, of the "Big 6" Tottenham have spent the least on transfers in the last 5 years. How can this possibly work?

Granted Mourinho's last managerial post was in many regards a failure at Manchester United. In the 3 seasons with United he was only able to win the Europa League Cup (a secondary tournament to Champions League) and finish as high as second in the table (2017/18 season) behind the noisy neighbors Manchester City. His last season ended abruptly as his then United side were demolished by their most hated rivals the Reds of Liverpool by the score of 3 nil. The Red Devils were left in a free-fall spiraling downward and still as yet to recover from their Mourinho era. Some believe this is how Mourinho will leave Tottenham as well.

But that United team was far from complete and needed upgrades all over the field. Even before Mourinho, there were those in United circles who were asking for a complete reboot of the team. United has players from 4 different managers since Sir Alex Ferguson has retired to the stands. Mourinho has never been one to rebuild a team he is more attuned to falling in on a developed team and making a few tweaks to perfect it. He won the Premiere League in his first year with Chelsea breaking records that still stand. In his first season at Inter-Milan he won the league only bringing in 3 players during the summer transfer window. It took the Special One until his second season with Real Madrid to win La Liga but he still won trophies in his first season. And during his second stint with Chelsea it took him until his second season with Chelsea to win the Premiere league again for the third time notably bringing in Diego Costa and Thibaut Cortois. This Tottenham Hotspur team is not one needing a rebuild, it is one that already has all the pieces in place to compete. 

All of Mourinho's league winning teams have had the same characteristic. A point striker that can hold the ball and score. I only need to mention Drogba, Zlatan, Benzema, or Diego Costa. He's had wingers that can counter like Arjen Robben, Eden Hazard,and Ronaldo. Central Midfielders that can score such as Frank Lampard and Xabi Alonso. Defensive Midfielders such as Makelele, Sami Khadeira and Nemanja Matic. His centerbacks were the likes of John Terry, Pepe, and Carvalho. Lastly, he always had definitive goal keepers like Petr Cech, Iker Casillas, and Thibaut Cortois. 

Tottenham has most of the pieces to the Mourinho puzzle. Starting with Harry Kane, the striker is only 26 and is a bona fide goal scorer. Son and Lucas Moura are perfect wingers in his system, fast and harassing with buckets of energy. Deli Ali may have potential to be the goal scoring midfielder that Lampard was in his years. Defensive midfield is in question for this squad as is central defense. Mourinho will also make a decision on whether he has the goal keeper he needs to compete against Manchester City and Liverpool. At most this squad needs 3 transfers to solidify these positions (DM, CB, GK) and that is much less than what Mourinho needed at United. This year he will right the ship, next season he will compete for the league. 

Will Mourinho and Tottenham mix like oil and water or is this a match made in heaven for team looking to keep its relevance and a manager looking to prove it.

Listen to the Kick from the Spot podcast EP-043 for full Mourinho reaction.