Mourinho has won a trophy at every club he's managed, but will that run continue in North London? This squad is far better than the one he took over at Manchester United, so that's one promising sign.
It’s been a whirlwind few days for Tottenham fans. Pochettino was sacked by Daniel Levy and 11 hours later, ex-Chelsea legend Jose Mourinho came in without any time to process what happened.
After years of hurling abuse at the Portuguese coach on the touchline, seeing him in Spurs training gear or hosting our press conferences is a strange sensation – almost as if we’re now in a parallel universe – and it’ll probably continue to feel that way for a while.
Mourinho has won a trophy at every club he’s managed, but will that run continue in North London? This squad is far better than the one he took over at Manchester United, so that’s one promising sign.
This gamble could pay off, or it might fail miserably. As ever with Spurs, nothing’s for certain. Here are three potential ways that Jose’s reign could go:
Mourinho is quickly able to galvanise this talented but trophy-starved group of players. A favourable run over the festive period sees us steadily climb up the table with convincing home wins over Bournemouth and Burnley, while we also claim our first away win since January.
He mostly opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation, which the players are used to, utilising Eric Dier alongside Tanguy Ndombele as the Frenchman’s fitness finally improves. With his work-rate and South American grit, Erik Lamela thrives under the new boss and becomes even more of a sh*thouse to earn Mou’s trust, while Dele Alli rediscovers the nasty streak we saw a few years ago.
A tricky Champions League draw sees us face high-flyers RB Leipzig, and we put in an excellent defensive showing to squeeze through on away goals in Germany. Unfortunately, our run comes to an end in the quarter-finals against PSG after a 3-1 loss in Paris, which includes a Hugo Lloris howler from an Edinson Cavani header.
Three straight wins over Burnley, Man U and West Ham see Jose win Manager of the Month for March and morale is high, but by April the top four looks out of reach, so attentions turn to the last chance of a trophy.
Sadly, the wait for silverware must go on for a bit longer as an exciting FA Cup run ends at the semi-final stage against Chelsea – sound familiar?
Still, we end the Premier League season in 6th place above Woolwich, who sack Unai Emery in the summer. It’s quite the turnaround considering our poor start and there is hope for the next campaign. Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama leave the club, while Bruno Fernandes comes in.
Fast forward 12 months and we end the 2020/21 season as Europa League winners, finishing third in the league. Harry Kane and co. finally get their hands on a trophy and we’re back in the Champions League! Mourinho promises a title challenge for the following year, but fans are wary about his record of third-season implosions…
After mourning Pochettino, many of us were wondering just what version of Jose Mourinho was taking the hot seat with a three-and-a-half-year contract. He said all the right things in his opening press conference, but despite picking up a few wins before Christmas it quickly goes sour after a humbling home defeat to Chelsea.
This is a rebuilding job, but the stadium won’t pay for itself and Mourinho’s relationship with our chairman quickly deteriorates because funds are tight in January. We’re only able to shift Wanyama, with no incomings. Danny Rose just can’t get back to his best, Serge Aurier is still a headcase, and the three Belgian ‘contract rebels’ confirm they’ll be leaving in the summer.
Fans grow frustrated at the lack of game time given to our younger English players, with Harry Winks, Ryan Sessegnon and Japhet Tanganga barely featuring. Troy Parrott is shipped out to Swansea on loan.
In February we meet Juventus, winners of Group D, in the round of 16. Holding a 1-0 lead on aggregate, we open the scoring in Turin only for VAR to controversially disallow the goal. After four-and-half-minutes of checks it’s confirmed that Son Heung-min’s nipple was in fact offside. We lose our heads, Dier is sent off, and we concede twice to crash out of Europe.
Don’t worry Daniel, this makes great viewing for the Amazon Prime documentary, All or Nothing. But this season we end up with precisely…nothing, apart from a 7th place finish (just one point above Wolves).
Midway through next season, Spurs sit outside the top four and the pressure is mounting on Mourinho. Negative tactics, ignoring young players, the snarling press conferences…who could have predicted this?
Angry Jose returns in early 2021. When a journalist reminds him of his comment that Spurs could win the league that season, he responds with two fingers. This doesn’t refer to any amount of trophies he’s won – like the infamous ‘respect’ rant – he’s just expressing his anger.
He sulks his way through the final few months of the season as Spurs stumble to another 7th place finish before he gets the sack that summer. Back to square one.
“I had time. I think I am stronger. When I say I’m stronger I’m not saying I’m fitter, I’ve always been fit, but I think I’m stronger.” These encouraging words at the opening press conference were a sign of things to come at White Hart Lane.
The cocky bloke who rocked up at Stamford Bridge, the Bernabeu and Old Trafford was left behind. Jose was feeling refreshed and determined to bounce back. We shoot up the table thanks to an unbeaten December, featuring a repeat of last season’s 3-0 win over Chelsea at Wembley.
In January, highly-touted Director of Football Luis Campos joins us from Lille, followed by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes to inject some fresh ideas into the squad.
Kane flourishes under his new boss, quickly hunting down Jamie Vardy in the goalscoring charts, while Son, Dele and Lucas Moura start tearing defences apart in N17.
We hammer Valencia in the Champions League, before a tactical masterclass against Mourinho’s former city rivals Atletico Madrid sees us progress into the semis. Fans start dreaming of going one step further this year.
By the start of May, Leicester and Chelsea secure third and fourth spots with three domestic games remaining. With Spurs sat in 5th, they can fully focus on their semi-final versus Barcelona. Jose rediscovers the underdog mentality that saw him thrive at Porto in 2004 to help us triumph over the Catalans – his arch-rivals. Nobody’s eye gets gouged though.
Our final opponents? Bayern Munich. Revenge tastes sweet as Kane scores twice in Istanbul, with Sonny sealing a 3-1 victory. After the heartbreak in Madrid 12 months previously, Spurs fans are in dreamland. “I told you I’ve never lost a Champions League final,” smirks Mourinho at the final whistle.
After just one trophy in his near 19 years as chairman, Levy has finally delivered. Paulo Dybala joins the new kings of Europe in the summer and nine months later the Argentine helps fire Tottenham to their first Premier League title in 60 years. Why? Because it’s lucky for Spurs when the year ends in 1.