There’s no doubting that it has been a breathless week in the white half of North London. With Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham managerial chapter coming to something of an abrupt close, the first few pages of a new story are now being written. A story with Jose Mourinho as its lead character will be entertaining if nothing else. However, with the £15m a year that the former ‘Special One’ will be receiving as a salary, he has not been appointed just to make headlines.
With Tottenham having a floundering start to this current campaign, club chairman Daniel Levy has taken something of a calculated gamble by installing Mourinho and, although he comes at a hefty price, he also brings an incredible trophy winning pedigree with him.
While it is trophies that Tottenham are crying out for, their silverware drought now stands at eleven years and they have already been dumped out of this season’s Carabao Cup by League Two Colchester, the barren spell under Pochettino looked set to continue.
However, there is already a new lease of life within the club. Although critics will argue that by solely targeting the FA Cup this season they are somewhat lowering their expectations, at the same time it could be the springboard to greater success down the line.
Wherever Jose Mourinho goes as manager, he usually delivers a trophy in his first season. It is this managerial feat that has Tottenham fans purring at the prospect of winning an FA Cup Final next May.
Of course, one should not forget that the Champions League is also still a very viable concern and, after a rather frenetic victory over Olympiacos on Tuesday night, last season’s runners-up have secured a berth in the Round of 16.
That match and the win over West Ham just a few days before have perhaps simultaneously shown the best and the worst of Tottenham. Although the defensive issues will be a cause for concern, the sight of an attacking quartet firing on all cylinders will have Mourinho grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
You can also argue that Tottenham’s new head coach will have learned more about his team in the past week than if his cabal of superstars had rolled their opponents over with relative ease. By conceding four goals in two matches, it shows that Tottenham are far from perfect in defence and, when you consider that they have only kept one clean sheet in the Premier League this season, it will certainly be the area of increased focus on the training pitch.
However, there is no doubting that the personnel within the club have enough quality to revert to type, a type which used to mean their stomping ground was an impenetrable fortress. Something that was certainly missing in the last days of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.
Should that be the case, then the same critics who bemoan Tottenham for setting the sights on winning this season’s FA Cup, will also use the phrase ‘parking the bus’ as a stick to beat Jose Mourinho. It can be construed as a rather lazy criticism, especially when you consider the way his Chelsea and Real Madrid sides operated, with the latter recording over 100 points in a single La Liga campaign.
People get confused over the fact that a Mourinho side will usually blitz the opposition in the first half and then play more pragmatically after the interval. Quite simply, you don’t need to win the second half, if the game is already won.
It could prove that a cautious approach is the one thing that Tottenham are missing from their overall game. Could it be the thing that finally turns the clubs from perennial bridesmaids into a beautiful bride?
With only one realistic route to silverware this season (two if you are considering the Champions League) then success may just elude them this time around. However, if Jose Mourinho can get his ducks in a row by next August, Tottenham will once again be a club to be feared of on all fronts.