Will Mourinho’s toxicity continue to undo Spurs’ season?


Take Jose Mourinho out of the equation and Tottenham Hotspur’s season is nowhere near as apocalyptic as many are suggesting.

The North London giants are seven points better off than at this stage last term and currently lie just a couple of points shy of a top four spot. In Harry Kane they possess a striker who is amassing stats Lionel Messi would be highly satisfied with; another brace at the weekend making it 29 goals and 16 assists in 41 games for the England superstar. Furthermore, they have a Carabao Cup final to look forward to in three weeks’ time.

Regarding their league form, five wins and a draw from their last ten is admittedly poor but hardly the end of the world while three clean-sheets from their last six intimates that Tottenham’s defence is fairly sound.

All told then, it’s…okay. Not bad. So-so. Could be worse.

Now put Mourinho in the frame, scowling on the touchline; throwing players under the proverbial bus in post-match interviews; causing division and acrimony as his trademark self-sabotaging ways lead inevitably to a hefty pay-off.

We are all very familiar by now with the Portuguese coach’s three-year cycle at clubs, that begins all-smiles and ends in overly-cautious, bloodless football and toxicity. Here it feels like it’s accelerating.

That sound you can hear is four horsemen galloping down Seven Sisters Road. The apocalypse is indeed approaching.

Borrowed time

Identifying precisely when Jose Mourinho will depart the capital is obviously impossible to determine but there are some key pointers to note.

First off, let’s rule out the possibility that the seasoned sulker will leave ‘by mutual consent’ while a top four spot remains up for grabs and with a cup final on the horizon. That takes us to April 21st at the earliest.

Next, let’s concede that a nation’s eyebrows will be raised to the rafters in surprise should he still be in situ at the start of next season.

That leaves us with a broad window but with two tough tests against Manchester United and Everton prior to their trip to Wembley it shouldn’t be under-estimated how quickly things might unravel should defeats continue to wrack up and a Champions League invitation becomes remote.

Not for nothing, it shouldn’t be under-estimated either how rancorous Mourinho might get.

Most likely Daniel Levy will wait until the summer before off-loading his dream man turned sour, but it’s not unheard of for managers to go late in the day: four gaffers have been sacked in the last four seasons with just a handful of fixtures remaining.
As for the other candidates facing the chop – namely Steve Bruce and Sam Allardyce – both have uncertain futures but will almost surely be retained until the season’s conclusion.

The 6/1 therefore for Mourinho to be the next Premier League manager the leave is a decent price and well worth considering.

Harry Kane, Spurs.jpg

Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

Tottenham are presently woefully short of style and sorely lacking substance and it’s a coin-flip as to which is most damning of the man at the helm.

Regarding their first deficiency Jamie Redknapp summed it up well on Sky Sports last month when he said: “The top managers in Europe play a proactive game. Jose Mourinho is reactive. The top teams take calculated risks. Jose is risk-averse.”

With club hero Gareth Bale returning and Kane and Son Heung-min firing on all cylinders such an ultra-conservative mandate has proven immensely frustrating for the Spurs faithful but at least it would be tolerated if the ends justified the means, Sadly, it categorically does not.

Hinting strongly at a brittleness of mentality from players fearful of making errors Mourinho’s men has dropped 15 points from winning positions since September, failing to win six games they have led at the break. As worrying and revealing they have lost all six of their last ‘top six’ battles against their immediate peers.

When a Jose Mourinho side cannot see out games or show up on the big occasions then it’s reasonable to enquire what he offers at all.

It gets worse too. Because following yet another concession of a promising advantage against Newcastle last weekend – and to be briefly flippant, when you fall victim to Joelinton you really are in trouble – Mourinho reverted to type and distanced himself from any blame.

“Same coach, different players,” was his response when asked why his team is incapable of defending leads. An illusion to Toby Alderweireld’s professionalism meanwhile after coming back from international duty has reportedly infuriated his players.

It has always been Mourinho’s M.O. to divide and conquer within the ranks. The latter part has not applied now for a great many months.

Tottenham’s shortened odds to finish outside the top four are unappealing. Far more tempting is the Evens available for them to ultimately languish beyond the top six.

Misery on misery

Can we expect more salt to be added to the wounds on Sunday when Manchester United travel south?

Certainly, should the home side break the deadlock it’s almost beholden of us to head to the in-play market and back a late equalizer/winner because Manchester United’s habit of scoring late, important goals has become a hallmark of their campaign. Spurs, for their part, have relinquished 11 points from conceding goals in the final ten minutes of contests this season.

The visitor’s phenomenal away record in the Premier League is also a highly pertinent factor but comparing form only gives us part of the picture. Widen the frame to incorporate Mourinho and it all gets significantly bleaker.

One thing is for sure: That famous 1-6 demolition at Old Trafford feels like a lifetime ago now.

The Reds are 8/1 to prevail 2-1 and further extend on their impressive track-record on the road.