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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Jose Mourinho finds his second-season mojo at Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho’s second-season syndrome is in full force at Tottenham.

By: Express News Service | Updated: December 13, 2020 7:52:01 am
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho shakes hands with Hugo Lloris after the match (Source: Reuters)

Jose Mourinho’s second-season syndrome is in full force at Tottenham with the London club standing atop the English Premier League table with 24 points in 11 games and a league-high 14-goal differential. When Spurs chairman Daniel Levy fired Mauricio Pochettino and hired Mourinho, it seemed that there were two reasons behind such a tectonic shift in the philosophy of the club. One was obviously the need for a box-office figure in Mourinho, with Tottenham’s new stadium and Amazon Prime documentary needing some star power.

The other was that there was a feeling that Pochettino’s Tottenham had underperformed for the quality of the squad at his disposal, and Mourinho would be able to extract trophies from the world-class players at the club – even if it meant that his stint would be a relatively short one, as has been the case with Mourinho’s tenures in his previous few clubs.

Son-Kane enjoy Mourinho boost

Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have always been world- class players, but this season Mourinho’s words have acted as a booster shot of confidence for the two forwards who have provided Tottenham with 18 goals between them. Son, in particular, has scored 10 Premier League goals with only 13 shots on target.

A return to the old Jose?

There’s almost a twinkle in Jose’s eyes now that he is at Tottenham. There is no longer the pressure of sticking to the philosophies of footballing giants as has always been the case at clubs like Real Madrid or Manchester United. At Tottenham, he can post what he wants on his Instagram account or be the star of the show in the club’s Amazon Prime documentary – while continuing to deliver the results he has been brought in for in his second season, when everything is expected to come together on the pitch and off it.

Pandemic season working for Spurs

One of the reasons Tottenham have continued to stay at the top of the league is how this season had begun. Most teams didn’t enjoy an adequate pre-season. On top of that, most top teams are playing in multiple competitions and regularly taking the field for two matches a week.

This war of attrition is where a manager like Mourinho thrives. As Liverpool struggles with multiple injuries and Manchester City become the team that presses the least in the league (1,094 pressures applied in 11 games as compared to 1,971 by Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United), Mourinho’s Tottenham play on the counter and pick off teams that are yet to fully comprehend that their way of playing isn’t suitable over such a jam-packed schedule.

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