Mourinho Out

If I’m honest, I’ve wanted him gone for months, but I think now my views are more crystalised than ever and I’m seeing this rationally rather than just emotionally. Though, frankly, I feel strongly that the emotional has become the rational, as I’ll explain below. There are, I believe, five main reasons why we should sack José Mourinho quickly.

1. The results

We’re currently eighth in the Premier League table but according to our expected points that’s actually an over-performance. Understat has us 10th by this metric.

Understat PL table, sorted by xPTS

Expected points are based upon expected goals scored and conceded. Mourinho teams can be expected goals busters, since they often stop trying to score after going ahead, so don’t rack up the goals or at least expected goals numbers that other teams might in matches where they have the opposition at arm’s length. But, frankly, expected points has proven this season to be a useful predictor of how results would go; i.e. by showing how Spurs were over-performing points-wise and Brighton were under-performing points-wise.

Back when we were winning games against Burnley and Brighton and West Brom I was saying on The Extra Inch (Spurs Podcast) that I didn’t think these results were sustainable — that we had to find another way of playing against the ‘lesser’ teams (shorthand for those teams against whom we would dominate possession and chances due to, mainly, our comparative quality). I felt pretty convinced that our results would regress to the mean and I feel they now have. I’m not a soothsayer, of course — the data was there, the performances were there, people were just distracted by the results.

There is not a single game I do not fear at the moment. Mourinho currently has the worst Premier League record as Spurs manager since Juande Ramos. For a man so results-focussed who places the importance of the result above all else, this is a pretty big deal.

2. The performances

It’s amazing how much good results change your perspective on things — you’re only ever one good corner routine away from a ‘Mourinho Masterclass’. Take that corner routine away, or add a defensive error, and suddenly we’re what we’re seeing now.

‘You should have seen us in the nineties’, people say, when you start to talk about whether this is the worst we’ve played. I mean, sure, but that was like twenty-five ago and things have changed. We’re ninth in the Deloitte Football Money League. Comparisons with nineties Spurs are meaningless — we’re a different club now. We are allowed to expect more. And yes, this is the worst we’ve played since we’ve been good.

Barney Ronay’s description of Spurs for The Guardian was both damning and accurate.

‘For the first half of this weirdly gripping Premier League game it seemed Chelsea’s players were being set an unexpected philosophical conundrum. Never mind trying to win a match against active opponents. How do you kill that which was never really alive in the first place? How do you put away a team that comes pre-put away?’

José Mourinho’s rigid thinking brings zombified display from Tottenham‘, Barney Ronay, 4 February 2021

Low block and counter is a viable strategy against the bigger sides, as we proved against Manchester City (and Arsenal). But we’ve got no alternative — we don’t know how to play when we are handed the majority of possession. We lack any sort of possessional structure, attacking routines (obviously aside from the ball into Kane and spin in behind from Son) — automations as Nathan A Clark refers to them.

Mourinho has had 14 months to implement a philosophy and all we’ve had are lop-sided full-backs and low block and counter. 14 months and the strategy is *gestures at the television* this. We’re paying him an enormous salary for *gestures at the television* this and he’s actually got us more reliant on Harry Kane than we’ve ever been. We got quite defensive when Pep Guardiola referred to us as The Harry Kane Team. I don’t think any of us would have the audacity to argue with that nickname right now.

3. The immediate future

Whilst it’s great news that Harry Kane is due back soon and, of course, that will help, I don’t see a world in which things change drastically anytime soon. There’s little to no time on the training ground between matches, so we seem largely stuck with the system we’re using.

We may see Kane and Son Heung-min briefly return to their over-performance of expected goals and assists from earlier in the season, but they will likely revert back again. It is simply not sustainable for Son to score with his first shot of every game to enable us to defend deep for the rest of each match.

We’ve also started hearing reports of minor dressing room unrest. Miguel Delaney reported in The Independent this week that ‘There isn’t yet mutiny among the players or anything like that, but a growing number have serious misgivings about the football. A minority are fed up with it.’ And the day before the same journalist wrote of the training and implementation of tactics.

‘Some sources at Spurs say the attacking idea genuinely doesn’t extend much beyond getting it to Kane and Son Heung-Min. There is little preparation for progressing the ball up the pitch. This is what has struck opposition staff in planning for games against Spurs. Matches thereby reflect the training, which has largely been based on defensive organisation, set pieces and second balls.’

‘Jose Mourinho and Thomas Tuchel hold opposing ideals on two sides of the same coin’, Miguel Delaney, 4 February 2021

Minor unrest becomes major unrest when results continue to go badly and players continue to be treated differently.

I have long-feared that our lack of rotation would haunt us later in the season given the focus on winning a trophy. The number of minutes our players have under their belts will make them susceptible to muscular injuries as time goes on, particularly as the frequency of matches gets worse rather than better as time goes on.

My tweets on Tottenham’s schedule

We had been very fortunate with injuries and COVID outbreaks until the past fortnight where we lost Kane and Sergio Reguilón at the same time. We need to be prepared for more periods without key players – particularly Son and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg who have barely had a break.

We need to get more from our players, and quickly. In the 14 months of Mourinho to date, I’ve seen very few matches where I’ve felt as though the team was greater than the sum of its parts.

4. The long-term future

Perhaps Mourinho will have us beat Manchester City — hell, there are few managers you’d trust more in a one-off match. But is a League Cup going to keep Harry Kane at the club if we fail to finish in the top 4? We could perhaps manage it for one more season, but Kane could play for any club in the world and he’s not going to choose to stay for long should we not be competing for the top honours.

The idea, as it was sold to us, was that the winning of one trophy could change the entire perspective of the club and open the floodgates for more trophies. We have absolutely no chance of challenging for the league unless we have a total change in philosophy.

An issue which may have gone more under the radar so far but which is starting to come to the fore is the number of fans who are starting to switch off — both literally and metaphorically. Because I’ve been vocal about the disconnect I’ve felt, I’ve had dozens and dozens of tweets, direct messages, emails, etc on the subject. People have told me that they have stopped watching matches entirely. They don’t want their day ruined by Spurs.

Of course, this isn’t just due to Mourinho — this is the effect of the global pandemic, of no crowds, of not being able to actually go to the stadium yourself, a crucial part of the routine for a core of our fans. But it’s definitely exacerbated by Mourinho. I find myself increasingly on my phone whilst we’re playing — just because there’s not much to enjoy unless you get something from watching our opposition have the ball. We are a highlights team now; occasional bursts of excellence.

Levy will be attuned to this like he is with all things that impact on business. The fact that Spurs are currently playing the worst football in the Premier League and are being publicly called out by pundits and journalists for doing so will not have passed him by. I wrote in my recent article about Dele that there are Spurs fans who are Spurs fans because of Dele; well, we’re not going to acquire many new fans playing the way we are currently. Every day, youngsters across the globe will be looking for a club to follow, and apart from the obvious teams there’s a chance they’ll currently be picking Aston Villa, Everton and even West Ham over Spurs.

I think Levy might have shown his hand here. By refusing to sanction the sale or loan of Dele (like Tanguy Ndombele before him), it shows that he’s not backing Mourinho at all costs. Some costs, maybe — I’m not sure we’d previously have signed Matt Doherty, an older full-back, and perhaps not even Joe Hart, though that’s less clear as we did sign and re-sign Michel Vorm — but he won’t let our top talents go on the cheap. Perhaps that’s a sign that he is not sure how long Mourinho’s tenure will last.

5. The man

I think it says a lot that I don’t feel particularly comfortable making my thoughts on this publicly available, lest the Mourinho cultists find me again, so instead I put them behind our podcast paywall.

The tweet below is a snapshot of what Mourinho can be like, though, and it was totally unacceptable behaviour, which should be confronted.

He is a pretty unpleasant character, wrapped up in football legend — being good at or in football means pretty much anything goes (as we’ve seen with Cristiano Ronaldo).

I’m ready for us to part company with Mourinho whenever Levy feels the tingle of his trigger finger. I’ve been ready for some time. I only hope we get this over and done with sooner rather than later and build with a fresh skillset and outlook. We are a club and a team with enormous potential.

I am the host of The Extra Inch; a Spurs podcast that delves into the analytical side of Tottenham games. Check us out!

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Join the conversation

  1. I would like you out but who cares what I think
    1. Easy to achieve - don't read my blog and I'm out of your life forever.
      1. Great article, agree with you, never wanted him in the 1st place
      2. You put these truths well and accurate! Problem is will Levy see it?! It’s embarrassing!!! And what’s worse, Man Utd and Solskjaer are proving to be right to have got rid. Even I, who thought it was a good time to appoint him, have now turned to hope we get beat! because that’s the only sure and quickest way it’ll happen, and get Harry Redknapp to lead us to the end of the season, and then appoint a very exciting modern day coach, like our assistant, or graham potter, Julian at Leipzig, Rodgers, but get rid of Mourinho, just for the reputation and dignity of My beloved.
  2. I will admit that I never liked the man and never wanted him at Spurs. He WAS a serial winner but that is in the past. He is here 10 years too late in my opinion. My only worry is what will he leave behind when he goes? And the longer it takes the less that will be.
    1. Agreed
    2. Absolutely!
    3. 100%
  3. The thing we are missing is a consistent use of a modern football philosophy applied throughout the club for a long period. With successful manager, you get a club built around a successful philosophy (think Guardiola, Klopp, Wenger, Ferguson or Nicholson). Mourinho has an outdated philosophy that works in some situations (against possession oriented teams) and then only once as they make adjustments. We need someone new who is young and has a philosophy we can believe in.
  4. Let's not forget where we were when poch let us, 14th in the league no away win since December so although I'm not a mourinho fan we are not 14th yet.
    1. We were 14th,but were still only a game or so away from the top 4 And poch didn't have the squad that Boringho has got
  5. Spot on!
  6. I projected he would come in, break our bank, win a minor trophy, call us cheap and leave. Now it looks like will just leave at the end of the season. Could we get Quique Setien or are we too small, i.e., mid table sans Kane? I wouldn't mind Eddie Howe either.
  7. Morinho should be suck
  8. I too never wanted Mourino at the club, he is the wrong type of manager. Oliver Holt wrote a good piece about him a few months ago and Jose philosify is built on fear, fear what the opposition will do rather than what spurs can do. He has shifted all the young talent out on loan, he cannot transfer raw talent into the first team, he only works with established players. His type of football is outdated, I cannot watch the games due to poor internet signal, but on the radio commentary its all opposition and very little Tottenham. Jose needs to go and go soon, a forward thinking manager is required, not a backward thinking one. Spurs will be in a greater mess when he leaves than when he arrived and we will win nothing with the brand of dross that he is serving up.
  9. This goes on with every manager even poch at the end it will cost 30ml to sack mourino would it not been wiser to get the players poch and now mourino required say like Gealish when Levy had the chance and Fernades before Man UTD jumped in, if levy just payed the little extra for the players the managers wanted it would be a lot less than the 30ml if spurs sack mourino,
    1. Really logical and sensible comment
    2. Hit it right on the nail spot on with your post Levy Penny pinching,wonder how many players we missed out on because he quibbled on price buy cheap pay twice
  10. Get him out..this is not what I enjoy watching, win or lose. Tons of great managers out there who could get a tune out of our squad.
  11. I wasn’t overly happy when he was appointed but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because I was desperate for someone to succeed. Results were ok but the game plan is very one dimensional. With the quality in the squad we should be beating most sides easily. The West Ham result was an eye opener for me. 3-0 and then we collapsed. That stinks of a lack of leadership and character. The back 4 are terrible. Why Dier is still at our club, let alone in the starting 11 is beyond me. Add Aurier, Davies, Sanchez, Winks, Lamela and Sissoko to that list. These players flirt with the odd good game but overall they are liabilities. Kane and Son shouldn’t be defending. They should be terrifying defenders at the other end of the pitch. It’s because we can’t defend or control midfield leads to them having to operate in the wrong half. They get through so much work that there performances can’t be sustained. There’s a massive overhaul required in parts of the squad. Problem is Mourinho isn’t the man to do it. Levy won’t finance it either, but that’s a different gripe altogether
    1. So, so, true.
  12. Get rid,the crap he came out with the other night was laughable.we need a sarri to come in and get some orgaization.
  13. Sadly, Mourinho has not shown his expert Tactically knowledge for Spurs. He also needs to learn more about giving players motivation than blaming the players. Yes we all know what he has done but to see Spurs play this badly he must take full blame. There is a total lack of variation in free kicks and corners. WHY! Too many backward passes. WHY! When Spurs only a few years ago had SIX players in the England squad. And only the other day we had NO British Players Picked. WHY! Mr Levy will not be selling tickets with this kind of rubbish being played so he needs to give Mourinho more than just a chat.! John Greenwood
    1. Agree 100 percent
  14. Jose has always built his winning teams on a formidable defence. In fairness to him, we rarely lose by more than the odd goal. But look at our defenders: Doherty really a wing-back, Aurier unreliable, Sanchez inexperienced, Rodon promising but needs time in the top flight, Jan gone, Toby ageing, Davies average, Dier slow and error-prone, Reguilon good but likely to return to Madrid, Lloris doesn't command his area, Hart error-prone. Hardly what you'd call a formidable defence! We have tried and failed to sign top, experienced defenders. The result is our midfield is forever forced back to support the defence, leaving our strikers exposed and unsupported. Give Jose a reliable back four and he could start to build on that foundation. Or do a Leeds, appoint an attack-minded manager and just try to outscore the opposition. Despite their joke defence, Leeds could easily finish above us this season.
  15. Yes I agree the sooner he goes the less the damage. How a team with Kane, Son, Bale, dele, reguillon, aurier, lo celso, struggles to score. Outside of the fact he doesnt play Bale and Dele. This is a farce.
  16. Agree 100 percentage with your comments It is time for Jose to go Big mistake Levy sacked Pochband get Jose immediately I never like Jose style that was why Man Utd got difficult under Jose
    1. Sacked him Tuesday night, morinho was appointed next morning, discussing treatment
  17. Sorry meant disgusting treatment
  18. Another well written blog Windy! I agree that Jose should be sacked sooner than later. Another stat that I would hope opens up some minds: Spurs were top on 24 points through 11 games. We currently sit on 33 points through 22 games. That’s 9 from our last 33 points available, and just two wins in 11 league games. By comparison to Pochettino, after a dismal end to the 2018-19 league campaign, we were sat on 14 points from 12 games in 19-20 when he got sacked. To me, we aren’t any likelier to keep our stars with Mourinho than we would without him. In fact, a good and charismatic hire could lead to players sticking around too. We are looking at a possibility that we are out of the FA Cup on Wednesday, out of Europe by early March depending on the draw, and banking on continuing our inexplicable results over Man City in a final to win something. While it’s theoretically possible for us to win multiple trophies at the moment, if anyone is watching this Tottenham team and thinking they’re more probable to win something than we were under Pochettino, I think you’re grossly overestimating our manager. Keep up the good work!
    1. Absolutely spot on
  19. It is Mourinho's character that is the problem. He has to dominate his players and castigate them publicly because of his inflated ego. Mourinho rates Lamela who is first on as a sub ahead of Dele or Bale. At Chelsea he moved on De Bruyne and Salah as he failed to see their talent and did not improve Shaw or Pogba with his bully boy tactics. He threatens and disparages many a young player rather than develop. encourage and motivate. In his last two jobs at Chelsea and Man Utd. he had them playing much as Tottenham are playing now, with a resultant public negative blast from him. A cup win will only prolong a hopeless situation. But hope I am proved wrong!!
  20. I am reminded of the joke about the fan who dies and goes to hell. He's told hell is give a bad rap, we still have football down here. Then he is given a season ticket to Stoke (under Pulis). Sub Spurs for Stoke and you have life under Mourinho. Now if you'll excuse me I have some paint I need to watch dry.
  21. Unfortunately, all sport and especially football is about the present and whatever Jose has done in the past is completely and utterly irrelevant, unless that translates into something tangible in the here and now. No manager at Spurs is ever helped by the way Levy micromanages everything, lets make that clear. However, as much as I've had enough of Levy and ENIC wasting everyone's time (one League Cup in 22 years) they are still running things. What can we do? We can at least play some decent stuff. If the idea was to bring in a serial winner and go and win everything then it was never going to work at Spurs under these owners. Firstly they will not allow wholesale changes to the playing staff, and secondly and changes they do allow a coach to make are little more that minor adjustments. Add to the opinion I hold, that Jose has now seen modern day football and the present day player pass him by, and this whole Jose/Levy 'love-in' was always doomed and set to fail. I thought this at the time and made no secret of it, as did many others. Jose still has his methods but like all the best coaches (Wenger, Capello, Van Gaal the list is endless) they become superseeded and every dog has it's day. Jose should bow out of thing to manage a top club in a top League. Perhaps a return to Portugal and some real control over a club there will bring him success. The days of him putting together a 'petrodollar eleven' and obliterating everyone are over. The world has moved on and so must we from trying to turn the clock back with Jose in he hope its might save Levy a few quid. You can pretend to fake ambition, but as ENIC's one trophy in 22 years shows, the truth comes out...
  22. Good article. Totally 👍 agree..i to never wanted mourinho at our club the man is an arrogant out of touch an date buffoon who is slowly destroying our club.his tactics are so boring an out of date its embarrassing. The sooner this fool is sacked the better otherwise i feel we will just end up losing kane .son an dombelle .mr levy get this buffon out of our club
  23. It's great to read so many sensible comments about our 'has-been' manager, a bully, sarcastic and outdated. He obviously still believes he is the 'special-one' but I find him ignorant and boring. He can't spot talent, he proved that at Chelsea and Man U, he has persecuted Dele and N'Dombele, played Parrot, gave him the match ball then told everyone he was crap and only our 16 year old kids were any good. Watch him ruin Devine by playing him then humiliating him. I have followed Spurs for 60 years, good times and bad. This is the worst manager I have ever seen on our touchline. Where is the warmth, the support, the hug for a player that has had a rubbish game? He bought Doherty - but let KWP go. He loves Dier, why? Probably because Dier can speak Portuguese, certainly not for his footballing ability. Sanchez is error-prone, Aurier the same, Sissoko would struggle to get in a division one team, Davies is slow and has no attacking threat, Winks struggles to pass the ball forwards five yards, Bale was just a Levy inspired P.R. stunt and good players are out on loan when we should play them. All in all, shambolic and Levy has to accept the blame, he tried to buy success, he wanted a Rolls Royce but got a Reliant Robin
  24. Totally totally agree. There is another blog, the author there is an absolute moron, if you have an alternative viewpoint to him he blocks you from his site. So it's actually refreshing to see a reasoned and sensible counter to the people who think Mourinho should stay. I felt Poch should have been properly backed in the transfer market. Sure the final 18 month's weren't great, but he had turned Spurs into a fantastic watch and we had over achieved. Frustratingly we were a couple of players away. The way Poch left and Mourinho arrived left a sour taste, Poch deserved greater respect than that. Mourinho had been out of a job for a year, watching football. He turns up really happy with the squad and then has had 3 windows. So the argument he has a poor squad doesn't wash. He bought in a replacement for Aurier, he bought in Gedson, he bought in Vinicius, he signed off on Bale. He decided to play Dier at centre half. He decided to let Vertonghen go. He decided to keep the players that stayed. So, Dier has been terrible, Doherty has been terrible, the defence continue to make appalling mistakes and this is with Mourinho being a defensive genius. Mourinho spoke of understanding the Spurs tradition, attacking and exciting football. Unfortunately, Mourinho doesn't play that way and has reverted to type. When Mourinho feels the pressure he starts to pick fights with player, he gets sarky and nasty with the media, criticises players in public and blames everyone else but himself. Mourinho trains the players, he organises tactics, picks the team and is responsible for in game management. We are now labelled as the worst watch in the premier league, the football is horrendous and the results poor. He has got us to a cup final, barring the Chelsea penalty roulette, we had a bye and two championship teams, hardly spectacular. Of course he could win it, at the moment we are still in the other cups and not far off in the league. So Why does it feel so bad. That's down to the fact that this was not a popular appointment, the fans were never going to give a Mourinho playing this type of football too long. A cup that no one really bothers about isn't adequate. Compensation for watching awful football week in week out. Spurs are Spursy, were always mess it up, but we do it with heart and we try do it with style. The style has gone, the excitement has gone, the hope has gone. Whilst the fans are not at games you will not hear the unrest and the boos. The sound of dissention is written and spoken by commentators, and it's embarrassing. This for me isn't football, it isn't Spurs. This was always going to be a desperate short term fix chasing a bit of silverware, at the moment it is truly desperate.
    1. Wow, thank you so much for saving me the time of having to type what you have Agree 100 percent
  25. What has happened to the tram that tok MU apart, early this season? That is the attacking side of the tram that has been misi Ng, especially against weaker opponents. Apart from the Dras away to Chelsea, the other draws have cost Us 10 points. And we were in Winn ING positif NS in all these games. Murhino must set his team up to take advantage of our strengths, and not exposures our weaknesses. Another thing I have noticed is that wheneve we are in possession, there is no player to pass the ball to, or we make the wrong decision. Many of our players are static during the game instead of running into open SPAD es and thus stretching the opposing defendence. Well, these have to be fixed soon, or else it will be a season to forget.
  26. Agree Windy. I dont get people saying you should have seen us in the 90's because the current situation is a mirror image of the George Graham era. A difficult stubborn charachter who was bought in to turn us into 'winners' who then served up turgid mid table football with the odd cup run and yes, a league cup win. Whilst doing this he also didn't trust many youngsters, upsetting all and sundry which culminated in selling our best and most talented player in Ginola. I cant wait for Mourinho to go, although given the lack of caretaker managers i would concede this will likely be the end of the season.
  27. Usual drivel, read so many versions of it now. Lots of words on getting rid of Mourinho, the easy bit. Zero words on who the replacement is going to be, the difficult bit. Why do so many people think they solve a problem by firing someone ? You only solve the problem when you replace them with someone better

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