We’re almost a week on from one of the most eye-raising moments of the 2019/20 Premier League season – Jose Mourinho’s arrival as Spurs manager.
Jose Mourinho faces a tough challenge trying to get Tottenham to the Champions League – but he’ll back himself to close the gap.
Can the Spurs manager deliver the goods?
Here are five reasons why he might just succeed…
Mourinho Magic: Can The Spurs Manager Deliver Champions League Football in 2020/21?
He could benefit from the relative weakness of the 2019/20 Premier League
Tottenham’s patchy Premier League record this season ultimately proved fatal for Mauricio Pochettino, but Mourinho’s instant impact means Spurs have already lifted themselves into the top half of the table.
In a bunched-up league, a manager as experienced as Mourinho is more than capable of breaking free from the logjam with a winning run of games to at least put Spurs in contention for Champions League football qualification in the second half of the season.
While both sides currently look unlikely to stumble, there also has to be question marks over whether both Leicester and Chelsea can sustain their charge this season.
The Foxes are flying but we’ve yet to see how they might react to their first lean spell under Brendan Rodgers, while Frank Lampard suffered a wobbly winter last season with Derby suffering five defeats in 11 games after Christmas.
Any repeat could see a revitalised Spurs capitalise even with a nine-point gap to make up.
He’s got a stronger squad to work with than at Man Utd
While several eyebrows were raised by Mourinho’s decision to take a chance in North London, the spine of the team still looks stronger than most teams in the Premier League – particularly in comparison to Jose’s most recent employers.
While the Portuguese must take some of the blame for some of Utd’s misfires in the transfer market during his tenure, he inherits a much healthier clean slate at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium than the group he started with at Old Trafford. With a world-class core already in place, it might just be a case of getting certain players’ heads right.
The early signs are encouraging with Dele Alli and Harry Kane already looking back to their best under Mourinho’s guidance.
Now the Portuguese just needs to work on one of his specialist subjects – the defence.
Tighten that up and Spurs could really push on, both in the Premier League and Europe.
He’s refreshed his backroom staff
Mourinho is acting as the ‘Humble One’ this time around after admitting to mistakes during his tenure at Man Utd.
While the jury may out on whether this particular leopard can ever change his spots, the early signs suggest Jose is approaching his new role with an open mind.
The new Spurs manager has resisted the temptation to fill his backroom team with familiar faces, turning to highly-regarded former Lille coach Joao Sacramento as his new No. 2.
Could some fresh voices mean Mourinho avoids falling into his usual habits once the ‘new manager bounce’ wears off?
He’s got the ego to galvanise a divided dressing room
Jose loves to create a siege mentality and with plenty of big characters in the Spurs dressing room, there’s no reason why he can’t recreate that environment in North London.
Everyone likes to talk about the ‘three-year rule’ with Mourinho in terms of his stickability at a club, but that overlooks just how good a first impression he can make on a squad low on morale.
He’s had his ups and downs in recent seasons, but Mourinho still boasts an aura most managers would die for – and one that can instantly get even the most unsettled of players on-side.
Lowered expectations could be a blessing in disguise
Finally, for arguably the first time in his career, Mourinho starts out a club where winning the league isn’t a red line in terms of judging success. Spurs fans may be ambitious but given this is a club without a domestic league trophy to their name since 1961, no-one can seriously expect Jose to turn Spurs into full-blown title contenders even in the space of one full season.
For once, Mourinho has time on his side to build Spurs up into a side that can genuinely push for silverware. Provided he gets the support he needs both from board and fanbase, Mourinho has an irresistible opportunity to mull his options and rebuild his reputation in North London. He might just have the ‘big club’ mindset needed to usher in a bright – and ruthless – new era at their shiny new home.
Image sources: PA Images
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