Special summer? Spurs boss faces testing transfer window
Supporters are yet to be convinced that Jose Mourinho’s brand of football can deliver the ‘happiness’ they were promised
30 July, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho
WHEN Tottenham sacked Mauricio Pochettino in mid-November they were languishing 14th in the Premier League table and looked devoid of confidence.
The bubble that surrounded the team just five months earlier as they played their way to within 90 minutes of being crowned the best team in Europe had very much burst.
And it was a bubble, for the excitement and odds-defying run that Spurs went on to reach that Champions League final against Liverpool wasn’t being replicated in the league.
The 2018/19 season ended with them only winning three of their last 12 games, and their success in Europe had masked the problems of an ageing, injury-hit squad that had run its course.
So perhaps it shouldn’t have been all that surprising when Tottenham started last season by again winning just three of their opening 12 league games, leaving them within touching distance of the relegation zone.
The argument as to whether or not Pochettino should have been given the backing to start a new cycle with a stream of fresh signings has now been confined to history.
Instead the board turned to Jose Mourinho, who arrived in north London promising “passion” and “happiness”.
Mourinho’s reign started promisingly enough as goals from Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane saw Tottenham win 3-2 away at West Ham – a late Hammers revival doing little to take the gloss off a much-needed victory.
And it didn’t end all that badly either, as he steered Spurs into the Europa League.
In fact, Tottenham’s overall record in the league during Mourinho’s tenure has only been bettered by Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, leaving the man himself to declare that he is “fourth in the league”.
In truth, the January transfer window arrived too quickly for Mourinho to stamp his mark on the squad.
And with another quick turnaround before the league’s planned return on September 12, this current window is going to be a test too – especially with the new financial restrictions brought about by the coronavirus crisis.
But nonetheless, it’s an important six weeks or so, with supporters yet to be convinced that Mourinho’s brand of football is delivering on either the passion or the happiness.