What’s Tottenham Hotspur pondering?


For the fourth time in his profession, Jose Mourinho has been employed for a Premier League job. On Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur put in the Portuguese in his ninth managerial place, following the immediately controversial sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday.

Mourinho’s English appointments hint the arc of his much-discussed profession, spanning from the cocky-yet-charming managerial prodigy upon his first appointment at Chelsea in 2004, to his return in 2013 as a extremely embellished supervisor, to his 2016 arrival at Manchester United as each a three-time Premier League champion and broken items, to, now, a degree the place his signing by Spurs is extensively thought-about an enormous threat.

It’s, any approach you take a look at it, an odd marriage. Mourinho, someway nonetheless solely 56 and out of labor for nearly a yr since his December firing by United, would possibly nicely be probably the most divisive supervisor within the sport’s historical past. His private trophy case is inarguable: three Premier League titles; two Serie A titles; a La Liga title; two Champions League trophies; two UEFA Cup or Europa League trophies; eight home cups. The factor is, Mourinho has provoked as many crises and skirmishes and meltdowns as he has received prizes. And also you don’t get one with out the opposite.

So for Spurs, of all groups, to rent him beneath the rule of the ever-sensible, risk-averse chairman Daniel Levy, seems like an odd match. 

However there are different urgent and worrying concerns.

What precisely was Tottenham Hotspur pondering in firing Mauricio Pochettino and hiring Jose Mourinho? (Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC by way of Getty Photos)

The downturn in Pochettino’s final eight or so months in cost – the miraculous run to the Champions League remaining very notably excepted – was a lot to do with a widespread fatigue among the many gamers, who slumped to their current 14th place within the league. Pochettino was a demanding supervisor, imposing a strict and imposing taking part in system. There’s a behavior amongst soccer groups to vacillate between opposites in your managerial hires. After the disciplinarian, you go along with the nice-guy gamers’ supervisor to offer the gamers a contemporary expertise. After which the cycle resets. 

But Mourinho isn’t any much less demanding than Pochettino, albeit in numerous methods. Reasonably than a dogmatic, Marcelo Bielsa-inspired excessive press, Mourinho applies one thing antithetical, a kind of reactive non-press. However he drains his gamers in numerous methods. Mourinho creates a tradition of perpetual rigidity by instigation and battle. 

That may not work significantly nicely on gamers who look like burned out as it’s, whereas lots of them had been already itching to go away the membership. 

What’s extra, Mourinho depends closely on huge funding in his groups to unravel issues, quite than creating present gamers or ushering in academy merchandise – though Mourinho has at all times disputed this fame of ignoring youth, even when the stats clearly assist it.

“The standard in each the squad and the academy excites me,” Mourinho stated in a press release. “Working with these gamers is what has attracted me.” 

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But traditionally, that’s not what he has truly ever carried out. It might be that he might have developed throughout his time away from the sport, principally spent doing TV punditry in England, however that feels unlikely when you think about that Mourinho has replicated the identical playbook all over the place he’s gone – till it stopped working, after which merely did it over again someplace new. Mourinho would arrive, demand heavy spending on new gamers, foster urgency in a pressure-cooker surroundings, win just a few main trophies, and transfer on when all of it blew up.

However at Spurs, the institutional lack of funding in gamers drove Pochettino to despair – and it’s doubtless that the failure to refresh the squad induced its steep decline. It’s uncertain that Mourinho bought concessions from Levy that he denied his predecessor. 

Taken collectively, it’s laborious to see how any of this ends very fortunately. Mourinho doesn’t offer you joyful endings. He offers you just a few highs after which a crash. 

And possibly that’s the plan. One of many many issues that jarred about Pochettino’s firing is that the timing was so awkward – towards the top of a world break with virtually no certified managers obtainable. However then possibly it is a short-term play. Veteran regulars Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all have expiring contracts. Maybe hiring Mourinho is a last-ditch try to win one thing with a splendid, fastidiously cultivated squad earlier than it inevitably breaks up. 

As a result of the one structural downside Mourinho will clear up briefly order is the erosion of depth. He isn’t a long-term answer as a result of he doesn’t do the long run. He’s a contemporary face, but a well-recognized one.

“In Jose we’ve got one of the vital profitable managers in soccer,” Levy stated within the assertion. “He has a wealth of expertise, can encourage groups and is a good tactician. He has received honors at each membership he has coached. We consider he’ll deliver power and perception to the dressing room.”

Perception? Maybe. 

Power? Positive. However what sort, precisely?

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a Yahoo Sports activities soccer columnist and a sports activities communication lecturer at Marist School. Comply with him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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