After the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb during the week, it is looking more and more like the end of the road for Spurs’ manager, Jose Mourinho.
When the Portuguese was appointed as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur in November 2019, following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, most Spurs’ fans let out a collective groan. Spurs have always been known as an attacking side who are attractive to watch. Mourinho, famous for his defence-first tactics, seemed an unlikely fit. So it has proved.
The car crash of a game at the Stadion Maksimir in Croatia saw Spurs throw away what was realistically their only way of claiming a Champions League place next season. Their first hope of a Champions League spot fizzled out when their bid to win the FA Cup ended in a 5-4 defeat by Everton.
As it stands at the point of writing, Tottenham are 26 points adrift of league leaders Manchester City, and six points behind current fourth-placed Chelsea. Okay, they have a game in hand, but that is still not enough. They must rely on Chelsea losing their current form, but even if they do, will Spurs be able to win their remaining fixtures? It seems pretty unlikely.
The crazy thing is that Tottenham have one of the best-attacking line-ups in the world. The stunningly in-form duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, who have broken the Premiership record for the most partnership goals scored in a season, with a rejuvenated Gareth Bale, and skilful players like Lucas Moura, Eric Lamella, and Dele Ali, is most football managers’ dream. But Mourinho has turned that dream into a nightmare.
Rather than defence-first, with players like that in the squad, Spurs’ fans expect a different attitude. They would rather see one of – we will score more goals than you. But even with the best-attacking line-up, if there is no service to the forwards, they cannot perform.
The main reason that Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, took on Mourinho was his reputation as a serial silverware winner. At one stage, that reputation looked like it was holding up. Spurs were top of the Premiership; they were in the FA Cup, there were, and still are, in the final of the Carabao Cup. But winning that now seems hugely remote given how their opponents, Manchester City, are playing.
It is pretty certain that Spurs will have absolutely nothing to show for their season, apart from a very unhappy fan base and dressing room atmosphere in tatters. Jose Mourinho is rated the sixth-best English club manager of all time, but that standing now looks so false in the eyes of Tottenham Hotspurs’ loyal supporters.
Mourinho left Chelsea under a cloud, was sacked by Manchester United, and now looks set to be given the elbow by Daniel Levy – or so Spurs’ fans hope. There is even talk of Harry Kane moving on to pastures new in search of trophies – the one thing that has eluded a magnificent career to date. Tottenham Hotspur are in a pretty dark place, and the only light at the end of the tunnel is a new manager.