May 14, 2021

Man Utd

News

Jose Mourinho’s winning habit jarred with Tottenham’s losers mentality

3 min read

It cannot be a coincidence Tottenham sacked Jose Mourinho just as they are due a whopping windfall from the Super League.

Spurs were previously reluctant to dismiss Mourinho before the end of the season due to the substantial compensation cost. Predictably, the club insist the announcement is not related to the Super League and they already have a long list of candidates to replace Mourinho.

Tottenham billed themselves as one of the ‘leading European clubs’ in their tweet declaring their participation in the Super League. This is Spurs, winners of just two League Cups in almost 30 years and last English champions 60 years ago. “You won the league in black and white,” as Arsenal fans chant.

Dismissing a manager six days before only their third final since they last required silver polish is unedifying. Tottenham possibly thought jettisoning Mourinho was a feel-good story to counter the outrage at their intended Super League participation.

Spurs have betrayed their followers with their incongruous inclusion among the dirty dozen. Every other club has been champions of their nation within the last 20 years apart from Tottenham, and their losers status jarred with Mourinho’s winning mentality. Of all the clubs Mourinho were to leave trophyless, it had to be typical Tottenham.

Mourinho had bitten off more than he could chew. The squad he inherited in November 2019 was impressive on paper but past its shelf life and a pandemic-era summer window was not a sufficient or suitable time to rebuild.

The draw at Crystal Palace and defeat at Liverpool three days apart in December were killers. Spurs were at the Premier League summit at the time yet were too reticent in the former fixture, inviting pressure onto the error-prone goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and he cracked. They were unfortunate at Anfield, a gameplan kiboshed by errant finishing and a late winning goal.

Spurs’s form fell off a cliff and Mourinho is believed to have despaired at a lack of ambition that has convinced Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to want out. A Spurs source said: “The s–t players are happy just to be at this level.”

Daniel Levy, the chairman, has overseen a transformative change to the club’s infrastructure, with one of the best stadiums in the world and a state-of-the-art training complex. Tottenham almost always manage to keep their marquee names. He has also held them back.

Sir Alex Ferguson confessed dealing with Levy was more painful than his hip operation and the 2008 deal for Dimitar Berbatov was only completed on deadline day evening. Levy had encouraged nouveaux riche Manchester City to enter the bidding, eventually extracting £30.75million from United. Yet Levy failed to adequately replace Berbatov, Spurs did not win any of their first eight league games and coach Juande Ramos was sacked.

United were led down the garden path by Levy in their pursuit of Gareth Bale in 2013, offering more than Real Madrid before they paraded Bale on deadline day. Spurs spent £107.m on seven players to offset Bale’s departure, none with the matchwinning prowess of Bale. Andre Villas-Boas was gone before Christmas and replaced by Tim Sherwood. Ryan Mason, Mourinho’s interim successor, is this year’s Sherwood.



Mourinho's penultimate game with Spurs was against United
Mourinho’s penultimate game with Spurs was against United

Levy was the driving force behind Bale’s return in the summer, a move Mourinho was against as he felt other areas of the squad were more pressing. In Mourinho’s last Premier League win at Aston Villa, he picked just ‘good men’ and Bale was completely unused.

Mauricio Pochettino was Levy’s sole successful appointment and even the Champions League final run in 2019 masked abysmal league form as Spurs lost 13 times. Pochettino, arguably Tottenham’s second-greatest manager after Bill Nicholson, left trophyless.

So did Mourinho.

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