Jose Mourinho Landed On His Feet at Tottenham
But is he capable of producing something 'special' for Spurs?
Considering the tumultuous happenings of last week in the Premier League, there can only be one item on The Agenda this week:
I think I'm a special one.
It’s been over 15 long years since José Mourinho uttered those words.
In that time he has done some things that proved him right, and some other things that proved him to be oh-so-wrong. So as he was unveiled as Tottenham Hotspur’s new manager, the question was, is he still capable of producing something special?
I am humble. I am humble enough to try to analyse, which was what I did, to try to analyse my career. Not just the last year but to analyse my career, the evolution, the problems, the solutions. I was humble enough for that.
Humble? Well, that’s a new one for José, but there can be no denying he needs to reinvent himself if he’s to endear himself to the more reserved of the Spurs faithful.
Of course, when it comes to winning the fans over, all a manager has to do is win. And that’s exactly what Mourinho did in his first game in charge, at West Ham. It was Tottenham’s first Premier League win since the 28th of September and first away win since January.
It was very, very important to start with a win. 11 months without music in the away dressing room. Without a smile, without happiness and they did it. And I'm very happy with them, I'm very happy for them.
The first reactions regarding Spurs’ hiring of Mourinho were indeed surprised. His style of play - sometimes called parking the bus - couldn’t be further from his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino’s expansive football.
Then there’s the question of money. Mourinho loves to spend it, vast quantities of it, yet his new chairman Daniel Levy is notoriously frugal.
But one part of the Mourinho signing that does make sense, is regarding their trophy cabinet. Over five and a half years under Poch, Spurs were one of the most attractive teams in England, but they never actually won anything.
Whereas Mourinho in that time, won a Premier League title, two League Cups, and a Europa League title. As a serial winner, Mourinho has won trophies at every club he’s managed in his career. And that’s the key factor has the success-starved Tottenham faithful excited.
Of course, it’s way too soon to even begin judging Mourinho’s Tottenham career, but judging by Dele Alli's performance at West Ham the signs are certainly positive. Things had gotten so bad for the Spurs forward that on Mourinho’s first day at the club, he took him aside to ask whether he was the real Dele Alli or if it was his brother. And it seemed to work, as Alli produced his first assist of the season for Son Heung Min’s opener, which was enough to convince the new manager:
I think it was the old Dele Alli. The Dele Alli of a couple of years ago that impressed not just England but the world. He did exactly what I wanted him to do.
Of course, there are much bigger tests ahead for Mourinho. The first real one of those coming soon when he returns to face his old side Manchester United at Old Trafford, a game that could have huge ramifications for Mourinho’s United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially considering now that his Tottenham predecessor is a free-agent...
We’ll get to see just how humble Mourinho really is then.