Mourinho, Tottenham Developing Identity as Team with a Plan

Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho November 21, 2020. (Photo by CLIVE ROSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho November 21, 2020. (Photo by CLIVE ROSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Tottenham Hotspur have been developing an identity under Jose Mourinho, an identity as a cohesive team that comes to each game all on the same script.

Tottenham Hotspur are continuing to evolve under Coach Jose Mourinho and are becoming a team with a definitive plan designed to win each match. In the first match of the season against Everton it was hard to discern the plan, but as the team has played more matches and as the wins have started to come, the buy-in to whatever the coach is selling continues to grow. Essentially, Mourinho is teaching Spurs there is a difference between beating every opponent and winning every game, which is now the teams’ intent.

Difference Between Beating an Opponent and Winning a Game

Under Mauricio Pochettino when Tottenham Hotspur were on, it was bad news for the opponent. Whether it was the resounding 4-1 wins over both Manchester City and Liverpool, or dumping Stoke 5-0, if Tottenham were on under Pochettino Spurs were incredibly clinical and could score with anyone.

When Tottenham were on like that, they were not just winning games they were beating opponents. Almost like Mike Tyson in his prime there were times when the game was over before it had started as the opposition knew Tottenham were about to come in and bully them around. However, on the days when all out pressing and attacking did not work, plan B was always a bit less clear.

This bring us to Tottenham Hotspur under Jose Mourinho, where every week it seems like Spurs are using a Plan B, because every week, there is a new plan designed to give Spurs the best chance to win against that opponent on that occasion. So while Tottenham can still give a beat-down – ask Manchester United or Southampton – Spurs are also now conditioned to be just as happy with a 0-1 win at West Brom or a 2-0 win home to City, where possession meant little to Spurs.

The more you get exposed to Jose Mourinho as a coach, the more you realize he is sort of like a Jedi, as he is always mindful of his situation and aware of his surroundings. This is especially true when it comes to his players and his opponent in each match. Against Southampton Spurs were set up to expose the Saints high line and attack early and often. Against Manchester City, Spurs played focused on defense with both a low- and mid-block and knew it would only take a moment on both ends and were ready when it happened.

As Tottenham head into Europe midweek, we will see yet another plan that plays to his teams’ strengths and looks to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses. The most important part of this evolution is not so much that Jose has a plan – that surprises no one – rather it is the complete and total buy-in from the players.

It is quite clear that Jose Mourinho is in charge and whatever he says is what the team needs to do. More importantly it is obvious that the Tottenham players hear and believe in what Mourinho is saying and understand that you can sometimes win a game without beating your opponent with moments of real quality.  As you hear the players speak, whether Harry Kane, or Eric Dier, Hugo Lloris, or Toby Alderweireld; the reframes are the same about the team, the belief, and the fact that their coach is a winner, which makes you feel like on too.

While it is still far, far too early to be talking title, let us wait and see where Tottenham are come 2021, Spurs fans can take confidence in the fact that the team has a plan to win each match. While that plan may not always include glorious, free flowing football, if the plan leads to trophies, that is all we will remember.