Tottenham Club Focus - Could Mourinho be coming to Spurs?
According to reports in the media, Jose Mourinho has indicated to close sources that he wants to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, irrespective of how successful the Spanish giants are, having seemingly grown tired of the political machinations that come with the role. His stated preference is to go to a club in the Premier League. Mourinho may not be short of offers with any of the top six clubs an attractive proposition, though any potential destination maybe governed by Champions League qualification.
An obvious vacancy may be Tottenham Hotspur. Whilst Spurs fans may want manager, Harry Redknapp to stay, there is a strong possibility that the Englishman will not be at Spurs come the start of the next season. If found guilty in his current tax evasion trial, chairman Daniel Levy may have little choice but to relieve Redknapp of his position, probably appointing a caretaker manager until the summer. If found innocent, the door will re-open to the England job, a position he has said he would find extremely difficult to turn down.
What does this mean? If either scenario occurs, one of the strongest and most promising Spurs teams in the last 25 years will be looking for a new manager with, on current form, Champions League football to look forward to. Arguably a perfect position for Mourinho to step into provided Daniel Levy can agree to the undoubtedly large salary and transfer budget the Portuguese may command. Levy has stated his ambition for the club, based around a future new stadium.
The signing of the self-penned “Special One” should underline this ambition and send a loud message not only to their Premier League rivals but Europe that Spurs are a club aiming for the top and intend to stay there. Here, Mourinho’s track record speaks for itself; to date seven domestic cups and six league titles in Portugal, England and Italy, one UEFA Cup and the holy grail for many – two Champions League trophies. Many Lilywhites may well relish the idea of having Mourinho at White Hart Lane. What would Mourinho bring to Spurs? Charisma, ambition, focus, a supreme confidence in his ability and a ruthlessness to achieve these targets.
Mourinho brings these traits to his teams. Set up with a lone striker and either wingers or strikers pulling wide to supply goals and service along with an attacking midfielder/trequartista, his formations vary between 4-3-1-2/4-4-2 in a diamond formation, 4-2-3-1 and less occasionally 4-3-3. Mourinho’s teams can play exciting football but his preference appears to be a defensive, safety first approach. Real Madrid are scoring at will, but consider the players they have and that part of the fall out at the club is over tactics, this appears to be despite Mourinho not because of him.
In his career, the Special One has often fielded only four or less genuine attacking players. At Real Madrid with all their attacking options, Mourinho usually has two holding, defensive midfielders. In his narrower formations he may employ three holding/central midfielders. In the past as well, when taking a lead, a striker or winger will be sacrificed for a more defensive player to protect the lead. At a time when Spurs may be acknowledged by rivals, media and fans alike to be playing some of the most exciting, attractive and thrilling football in the Premier League, is this the path that Spurs fans want to see their team go?
For all his success, there appears to be a dark side to Mourinho - seen in evidence whenever faced by his bête noir, Barcelona - that would accompany him to the Lane. This is the Mourinho who maliciously poked one of the Catalan’s coaches in the eye. The Mourinho whose outspoken criticism of referee – Anders Frisk – led to the Swede’s retirement. The Portuguese appears to court and create controversy whichever club he coaches and there seems a long list of players, board members or opposition coaches that he has fallen out with.
This would seem more than just playing mind games to put the opposition off. His statement of his high self-esteem could be seen as ego, and it may be argued that the public face, with the help of the media has made Mourinho seem more important than the club. Within his teams, Mourinho often creates a siege mentality, an us against them attitude for his players, going out of his way to protect them in public [such as with Pepe’s recent stamp on Lionel Messi], in doing so has Mourinho diminished the popularity of, or perhaps more importantly the respect for the club he is managing? Then there are the antics of his teams on the pitch which have had a reputation for the hounding of the referee at an injustice, perceived or not [imagine a Mourinho team during the Stoke match officiated by Chris Foy?], or for diving and play acting, such as Didier Drogba attained under Mourinho. Is this part of his ruthlessness, his determination to succeed? A win at all costs on and off the pitch?
Ultimately, if Mourinho came to Spurs would they be successful? Considering his record, it should be highly likely but at what cost – a little of the soul of what it means to be a Lilywhite? Would you see the attacking football so associated with Tottenham, under Mourinho, what would become of Audere est Facere? Two quotes from Jose Mourinho at Chelsea: “Look, we are not entertaining. I don’t care, we win”. The other quote, perhaps one for Jose Mourinho to remember if he goes to Spurs, from club legend Bill Nicholson: "We must always consider our supporters, for without them there would be no professional football. It would be better to have more fans watching football the way they like it played, rather than have a few fans watching football the way we would like it played.”
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