Mourinho’s appointment is a statement of intent, not a sign of regression

This week, the world was greeted with surprising news; Pochettino was sacked and Mourinho hired at Tottenham Hotspur. The former had been in charge of the club for five years guiding it to a Champions League spot in each of the last three seasons. The team also made it to the UEFA Champions League final last season losing to holders Liverpool. There was also observable improvement in the team in the way it fared against direct rivals and played football. 

Mauricio Pochettino instilled an attacking brand of football to his Tottenham side and this saw the team destroy teams like Bournemouth and Everton last season. The gaffer was also able to keep the team winning despite prominent departures in Gareth Bale and Luka Modric. Pochettino’s ability to replace the two players was phenomenal with players like Lucas Moura, Davinson Sanchez, Son, Eric Lamela, and Sissoko brought in to reinforce the team.

Ultimately, his inability to win any sort of silverware led to his demise. The Tottenham Hotspur’s hierarchy felt strongly that there needed to be a managerial change in order for the club to win titles and this thought process cost him his job. He left the club languishing in 14th place in a season to forget in North London.

José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix needs no introduction. The vastly travelled Portuguese is an A-List tactician who has had successful spells at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto. His time at the Spanish capital was indifferent but credit must be given to his centurion title winners of 2012. He was not only able to beat Barcelona to the title but did so with some aplomb.

His Champions League winning heroics at Inter Milan and Porto need no further illustration as they cemented a legacy built on pragmatism and spot on tactics. Mourinho was not only able to win the big prizes with less fancied teams, but also overcame continental juggernauts on his way to the double triumph. The Portuguese won back to back premier league titles at Chelsea at a time when the club was not established as an English powerhouse.

Much has been made of Mourinho’s appointment in North London with cynics saying that he is a finished man only showing up for pension. A section of pundits have also argued that his tactics are obsolete and his time at Spurs will not generate fond memories. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite his relatively underwhelming stint at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has a lot to offer from the dugout more than many imagine. 

At Man United, he collected a Europa League medal, the community shield and the Carabao Cup while finishing second behind a flawless Manchester City team coached by Pep Guardiola. This was the highest league position Manchester United had attained since the retirement of the legendary Scottish manager Sir Alex Ferguson. If such efforts are deemed below par, then surely the Portuguese has set astronomical standards, which many modern-day managers will forever struggle to attain.

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At Tottenham Hotspur, his work it clearly cut out. He inherits a squad that is relatively impressive but not galactico. He also walks into a club that has made a name out of big player sales, and has not laid a hand to a trophy for over a decade. This without a shadow of doubt could just be his hardest job to date. He must instill a trophy winning mentality to this crop of players, work with a shoe-string budget and compete against an ever-improving Liverpool side and a relentless Manchester City team. Even for a man of his pedigree, this will not be a walk in the park. 

At the team level, Mourinho will have to get Christian Eriksen’s head and heart back to the team and calm down a dressing room that has elicited rumors of player rifts. While this will not be easy his mere presence at the club should serve as a reminder to the players that Daniel Levy is finally ready to see silverware in the white half of North London.

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The Tottenham board led by Daniel Levy have gambled on the right man to bring silverware to the club. Mourinho may be controversial, spendthrift and have a penchant for antics but his trophy haul is respectable. He has collected silverware in every club he has walked through and that must be comforting to Daniel Levy. His knowledge of English football is better than any foreign manager and this will help him hit the ground running straight away. 

The team the Portuguese inherits is one that suits his philosophy. He has predominantly used the 4-2-3-1 formation to great effect and with players like Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Rose and Aurier he has a respectable backline. One would argue he has a better set of defenders in North London than he did at Manchester. Alderweireld, Eriksen and Kane are players he admired for quite a while when in the opposite dug out now he will have the privilege of fielding them. 

In Son Heung Min, Lamela and Moura, he has pacy wingers his counter attacking style of play has for long thrived on and who to better finish those chances than the England captain Harry Kane. Mourinho’s liking for an old fashioned centrefoward has never been a secret as shown by his decision to work with Diego Costa, Ibrahimovic, Lukaku and Benzema.

Harry Kane may not be the archetypal old fashioned centre forward but his aerial prowess, hold up play and uncanny ability to bury chances makes him a handful for many defenders and Mourinho will be drooling at the prospect of having such a player at his prime.

Follow Luke on Twitter @LukeSparrow3