Tottenham being in Mourinho Man United death spiral a myth

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 27: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby - Pool/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 27: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby - Pool/Getty Images) /

Tottenham Hotspur has not always performed to the level we as fans would have liked to have seen consistently this season. On several occasions where the team has had the opportunity to do something special, the Spurs have fallen flat. That said, Tottenham is not in Mourinho’s Manchester United death spiral some may want to or want to have you believe. When you step back and look at everything, ultimately Tottenham is simply a team that may or may not be underachieving, not falling apart at the seams.

What went wrong at United with José Mourinho

To understand why United fans and frankly pundits everywhere are looking for things is that United was a debacle in some respects. Long story short there were five main reasons Manchester United or United fans or Ed Woodward or whoever wanted Mourinho gone.

First, was the locker room split; second, was his divisiveness as a leader of men; third, was the ‘negative’ football; fourth was the outdated tactics, and fifth was results. Depending on who you might speak with associated with Manchester United, you might get all kinds of varying stories supporting one or more of these issues, but they were the main reasons Mourinho ultimately moved on.

However, just because those were the main issues for José Mourinho at Manchester United, does not make things the same at Tottenham. In fact, in looking at all five issues, some could argue, Mourinho is doing just fine.

There is no Paul Pogba situation at Tottenham

At Manchester United, there was a well-publicized fallout between Paul Pogba and José Mourinho. Also, there were supposedly issues with Mourino and Anthony Martial, and Luke Shaw if all reports are to be believed. However, there is not a similar situation at Tottenham Hotspur.

One might try to argue what about Dele Alli being frozen out like Pogba and that is simply not the case. Dele Alli had already fallen down the Mauricio Pochettino pecking order and lost his spot in England in the fall of 2018 a full year before Mourinho took charge. I guess you could say Danny Rose is in a similar situation but no one is arguing Rose would be the difference in the top four or not at this point in the defender’s career.

The most important players at Tottenham including Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, and Heung-Min Son have come out in support of Mourinho. If there is really a player problem going on, the team is hiding it well. I guess one could argue for an issue with Harry Winks but the midfielder has never been the same since he hurt his ankle some 4 years ago and is hardly a star. Ultimately, there is no true fallout with a player that has been documented at this point at Tottenham.

Mourinho can be divisive but more for fans than anyone

Again, if there is a split in the locker room, the extent of that split has not been fully surfaced yet. And while I would like to see Mourinho do more to accept some personal responsibility as the coach of the team after defeats, I do not see his comments at throwing his team totally under the bus.

After Sunday’s draw, Mourinho talked about individual mistakes but was not overly critical of his players. Watching the game and frankly watching the playback of that first goal, Mourinho could have been much more critical.

On the play, there was a relatively lazy pass attempt upfield from Japhet Tanganga, which is then compounded by a very bad clearance from Sanchez that gave Newcastle the ball with two of the four defenders completely out of position. Mourinho did not call out Sanchez or Tanganga on the play, just said there were errors and that the errors were the difference, and he is right.

Everyone is going to interpret everybody’s words differently in our world today and will make what they want out of Mourinho’s comments. However, if wanted to throw his players under the bus, he is not doing a very good job of it. That said, a large percentage of fans did not want Mourinho to begin with and will always be looking to prove their narrative, which does row supporters after every non-victory for Tottenham. All I want to see is accountability.

For a negative football team, Tottenham score a lot

Everyone wants to say Tottenham plays negative football but in the game Sunday it was not so much the changed information it was the intent with the ball. When Tottenham was really crisp and on, we saw a couple of good movements and two goals. For most of the rest of the game, things were less than incisive, but Tottenham still had chances that should have been finished.

While the Spurs do not shoot as much as they probably should, they certainly do score well. Their 51 goals in the league this season are as many as mighty Liverpool and three more than West Ham. Heck, 51 is the same number Real Madrid has scored in League. The truth is Tottenham has scored enough, they are simply not holding onto the leads.

Of course not holding onto leads is part of where this idea of negative football comes in. However, against Newcastle, Tottenham had the ball, they just failed to do much with it. You can look at the substitutes of Son, Gareth Bale, and Erik Lamela was not exactly Sissoko, Winks, and Dier and hoping to hang on.

While we can fault José Mourinho for not doing more to instill that killer instinct in his team, we all know Spurs lacked it long before Mourinho came to the club. Had he substituted all defensively and changed to a five-man backline, then we could have said he parked the bus and invited the draw. Instead, Tottenham continued to play, got stretched, and was burned for it. As fans, we cannot have it both ways right now.

What makes Mourinho’s tactics outdated?

Okay, is José Mourinho the dominant coach on the dominant team as he was when he splashed on the scene? No of course not. But if not for about a half BILLION in player investment would we not be asking the same questions of Pep Guardiola? Does anyone really think Tottenham would be conceding as they are with either Ruben Dias or Milan Škriniar in the defense? Maybe Tottenham would be but probably not.

The poor transfer record under Mauricio Pochettino led to a stale team that the Argentine knew needed to be turned over. It was clear neither he nor the players were in for that process together and the club moved on. That said, Tottenham still needs to continue to turn over their team and work toward a younger, more exciting team.

When Tottenham took a club-high 86 points in 2016-17, there were three 30-year-olds on the team, Hugo Lloris (30), Michel Vorm (33), and Pau Lopez (30). That was a younger, hungrier team and it showed.

Turning back to Mourinho, well Manchester United have six trophies since 2010 and two of those six came under the tenure of José Mourinho, as did their highest league finish since the retirement of Sir Alex. Ultimately, if you can win titles and trophies with outdated tactics I know I will take it. Not to mention the tactics are not that outdated.

We only have to look at the Champions League this week to see a very similar approach from none other than Mauricio Pochettino with mighty PSG against Bayern Munich. Pochettino tried to go toe to toe with them at Tottenham and got shellacked 2-7. On Wednesday a more mature Pochettino took a different tact.

PSG lost the possession battle 64/36, only completed 76 percent of their passes compared to 87 for Bayern, and were outshot by an astounding 31 to 6 total. Yet the final score of the match 2-3 with PSG leaving with the win. Suddenly the outdated tactics that are often employed by José Mourinho are winning games for Mauricio Pochettino, go figure, Pochettino must be outdated too.

Everything goes back to results votes still need counting

Ultimately, like him or not, buy into the Mourinhonista narrative or be fully committed to #MourinhoOut the only thing that matters is results. Mourinho hit a rough patch at United and with everything else, that was enough. Well, Tottenham has already hit the rough patch, much of the rest is non-existent, and Spurs have two major goals still to play for.

Step back fans, when was the last time Tottenham was in the first play in the Premier League. Oh, December and November earlier this season. When was the last time before that? Good luck remembering. Maybe that false dawn fooled us all so much that we forgot what was going on.

13 years without a trophy. Players routinely leaving for other clubs using Spurs as a stepping stone. A strong run, followed by a good summer can leave that all behind. Winning that first trophy could change everything. Making the Champions League again means everything. Those two things happen, suddenly Tottenham is a destination and all is right heading into the first REAL summer and offseason with José Mourinho at the helm.

Let’s all just take a breath and hope with a  bit more rest our team is going to do what we need them to do and get the gorilla off our backs and set ourselves up for success for next season. Only once those final results are tallied will we truly know if Mourinho produced anything different. Up to this point, the answer is no, more of the same inconsistent football we have had for the last decade. That said the top four and a trophy that is different and different is what we wanted.

Next. Putting Spurs season to date into context. dark