England, England

Mourinho failed at Tottenham. Became the star of the series, revealed the Kane-Son connection, but never changed

Lost trophies for the first time since the 2001/02 season...

On Monday, in the midst of incessant talk about the Super League, another piece of news thundered: Tottenham fired Jose Mourinho... On the one hand, the club's performance and results in 2021 were rapidly approaching this moment. On the other hand, no one expected Levy to shoot Mourinho now, after an away draw with Everton and 6 days before the League Cup final.

We figure out why Levi decided to appoint Mourinho at all, what was good and why it all ended in failure.

Mourinho is Daniel Levy's longtime dream. They came out on Jose back in 2003

“What can I promise? Passion - for my work and the club ”, - said Jose in his first interview for club television. Mourinho came to Tottenham with the call that he had changed. It was hopeful that after 11 months without work, Mourinho rethought and analyzed his past experience and assembled a new coaching staff.

Jose turned the first press conference into a traditional show: he said that he had changed, became more humble, took into account old mistakes and now will only make new ones. The Independent wrote that Daniel Levy was shocked by the conversation with Mourinho. It is quite possible that Levi had long wanted to get Jose and therefore was not critical enough.

Mourinho himself said that Tottenham went to him in the fall of 2003 and after his first departure from Chelsea, in 2007. Former Tottenham striker Elder Postiga confirmed on Portuguese television: “Inviting Jose Mourinho is an old dream of Daniel Levy. When I was at Tottenham in 2003, he wanted to sign him. Now Mourinho is at a different stage in his career, but this is Daniel's old dream. "

An almost Hollywood story could have turned out from this: Levi's old dream came true, Mourinho realized all the mistakes, changed and with a new coaching staff rushed into a bright future. In fact, everything turned out quite differently. Mourinho has not played a full season with Tottenham, the team has a terrible game, no results, no prospects for improvement in sight, a split in the locker room. The dismissal has nothing to do with the Super League, although immediately after the news of the dismissal, the network quickly went viral that the reason was Jose's protest.

At some point, it really seemed that Jose had changed. The basic principles of positional play appeared, in some matches Mourinho came up with an interesting plan for the opponent (a daring play in the first round against Manchester United, transferring Son to the other flank in the game with City), perfected the killer combination of Son and Kane. The players said that they see in Jose the winner, Tottenham had a clear and understandable style and even managed to jump to the first line of the Premier League for the first time in a long time for several rounds. After the December defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, the situation began to deteriorate rapidly.

The series from Amazon is Mourinho's brightest event at Tottenham

Daniel Levy is gradually making Tottenham a global brand. A modern base and a stadium, entering the American market (contracts with the NFL and the invitation of Alex Morgan to the women's team), shooting a documentary series from Amazon - all this fits well into the development strategy. Mourinho's invitation perfectly complemented her and combined with the series. All or Nothing: Tottenhamgot mixed reviews: Someone thinks that the series came out sterile and bypassed sharp corners, someone is watching with interest the inner kitchen of the club, but everyone agrees that the main star is Jose Mourinho.

Jose shone, he had a lot of highlights, but one of the most memorable episodes of the series is a conversation with Danny Rose, who was trying to figure out why he stopped making the cast. Rose was not satisfied with the answer, and he went to Levi. It all ended with a loan to Newcastle, and in the new season Rose was not included in the application and trained with the youth team. Danny Rose's words are unlikely to be emphasized by viewers, Danny has made quite a few contradictory statements in the past, but Rose asked the right questions in the series and, in fact, gave two major spoilers to Mourinho's career at Tottenham back in January 2020.

At first, in the locker room, I wondered about the expediency of tactics: “He gives the ball to Toby, he passes back to Paulo (Gassaniga then replaced the injured Lloris), followed by a distant pass. What's the point? We need to stop doing this. " Then, in Mourinho's office, during a personal conversation, Rose noticed how the joy of the appointment gave way to misunderstanding: “I was glad when you were appointed coach, but if you don’t want me to play, then tell me about it now, and I will stay at home and will train". This could have been attributed to Rose's complex nature if stories like this hadn't been haunted by Mourinho in every club.

Publicly, Jose praised the roster, but in fact was dissatisfied with the number of players and Bale's loan

“I told the players that one of the reasons I came here is because of them. Some I tried to buy, but I could not, and some I did not even try, because I realized that it was impossible. I really, really like this roster, these players. This is not the case when a new coach says certain things because he wants to look good. This is not the point, ”Mourinho said at the first press conference.

Insiders from spurscommunity - Tottenham's largest fan forum - say Jose has promised Levy to make it to the top four with this squad. Immediately after the appointment, Mourinho was even more determined: “We cannot win the Premier League this season. I'm not saying we will win it next season, but we can do it. "

At the very beginning, Dele Alli seemed like a perfect ten, Mourinho saw Dyer as the main defensive player and said that Sissoko should play either next to the defensive player so that he has freedom of movement, or closer to the right flank, when the right-back gives width, and Moussa shifts to the center ...

Dyer immediately said that he sees himself in the center of defense, Pierre-Emile Heybjerg came to his place in midfield in the summer, and Sissoko showed up in a new way together with him. Moussa was not the organizer of the game, but was an important link in the defensive plan of Jose. And Dele sat down tightly on the bench after the first half of the season's opening match with Everton.

After the summer transfer window closed, Mourinho praised Daniel Levy and Team Chief Scout Steve Hitchen for the transfer campaign and was completely satisfied with the squad, although one complaint slipped through: “To be honest, I don't like the number of players in my squad. It is very, very difficult for me to manage all aspects of my work. It is very difficult to cope with this situation, there are too many players. "

In the summer, it was not possible to fulfill only two wishes of Mourinho: to unload the squad and sign a central defender. Tottenham were interested in Dias and Shkriniar, but it didn't work out. Not everything went perfectly, but Mourinho had good introductions: it seemed that the Spurs lineup suited him better than in the second period of Chelsea and Manchester United, and communication directly with Daniel Levy would help to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary questions.

But the questions seem to have been. The Telegraph, after the dismissal, reported that Bale's lease happened not only at the initiative of Levi, but also against Jose's wishes. This is how Daniel's two weaknesses collided. True, Gareth did not play most of the season, and when he appeared, he helped win three matches (Burnley, Fulham, Crystal Palace) on which the fate of Mourinho depended. Bale proved that he can be very helpful when the team is on the ball, but Jose couldn't use it.

Mourinho did have a good stretch: Son-Kane link + solid defense (but the opponents adapted)

The best stretch under Mourinho is the start of the current season. The defense was wrong on the standards and brought stupid penalties, but almost nothing was allowed to be created from the game. The Heibjerg-Sissoko pair helped the defenders and Lloris withstand the pressure, Jose got a convenient scenario for big matches, when the team was competently and reliably defending and catching opponents on the counterattack. A bunch of Kane and Son was responsible for this, which Mourinho made murderous.

Kane sank deeper, received the ball in the center of the field or in the opponent's support zone and threw it into the vacated zones, where Sleep was connected. Not only is the movement of the Korean very difficult to stop, but also Mourinho helped the bunch with point solutions. For example, in the match against Manchester City, he moved Son from the left flank of the attack to the right in order to avoid a duel with a faster and more powerful than Son, Kyle Walker. Details of the interaction between Kane and Son and the influence of Jose's styleanalyzed by Slava Palagin.

They have already broken all possible records: Son has 9 goals from Kane's passes, they scored 14 goals from passes to each other and surpassed the Shearer-Sutton duo.

This is the best thing that Mourinho has built in the last five years. At this stage, Tottenham had a clear and understandable plan, but it worked only for about three months. A set of reasons worked.

The opponents adapted, they began to meet Kane more densely in the center of the field and either did not give space or were immediately fouled. Outsiders most often did not leave space for Sonu, who, moreover, had a drop in implementation. This does not mean that Son began to play much worse, just in the fall and at the beginning of winter he scored with almost every blow. It is impossible to transfer this to a distance, even taking into account the strengths of Son: an excellent hit from both legs and an overestimated implementation (Dream consistently scores more than expected).

Another factor - in the first half of the season, the defense withstood the pressure. Moreover, it is quite strong and long-lasting. The problem is that Tottenham were on the defensive, even when it was not required: even against outsiders, deeply, for a long time and practically without the opportunity to go into counterattacks. We scored in the 30th minute by Crystal Palace, we were fighting back for 50 minutes (until the goal was scored by Palace), we scored against the 1st “Wolves”, we were fighting back for 85 minutes (also before the goal was conceded).

The calendar also had an effect: in November-December, over 6 rounds, Tottenham played against City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester. Yes, Mourinho developed good plans for a specific opponent, but in constant defense mode it is impossible to play for a long time. Mourinho understood this and said it more than once, but nothing has changed. As a result, the defense ceased to withstand the pressure, and Mourinho returned to the point from where he began his journey at Tottenham. Without reliable protection, his style did not work, and there were no alternatives.

Mourinho's tactics were too focused on neutralizing opponents. In the attack, the players relied on the developments of Pochettino

“My methods and those of my coaching staff are unrivaled,” Jose said after the West Ham match in late February. Tottenham have lost 1-2, the sixth time in their last eight games. Immediately after that, The Telegraph and The Athletic shot insider information: Mourinho has 4 matches to extend his career at Tottenham, and dissatisfaction with his methods is growing in the locker room.

Tottenham have lost 20 points this season, winning during the meeting. Mourinho has repeatedly said that he asks the players not to cuddle and attack, his words were confirmed by Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris. The problem is that Jose, apparently, did not explain exactly how to do this. In the same piece by The Athletic about the dissatisfaction in the locker room, it was said that the players do not know exactly how they should act, and some still rely on the attacking skills that Pochettino taught them. “Everything has changed, even in training there is now a very defensive way of thinking. There is no plan for how to move the ball forward. The plan is to defend, load the ball forward on Sona and Kane and that's it, ”says a source in the dressing room.

The players did not like Mourinho's training: they considered it uninteresting, easy and too skewed towards studying the opponent and working on defensive actions. Preparing for the opponent is an important moment of the game, but Jose worked only on this, the players did not like that the team did not work at all on their game. As a result, before the matches there was a growing fear of making mistakes, which the coach had warned against. And, naturally, the players made these mistakes.

In the material after the dismissal, The Athletic noted that the players also have questions: they have completely opposite claims to Pochettino and Mourinho (the Argentinean's training was too difficult and exhausting, Jose's too easy), and at the first setbacks, the players' form began to decline.

Mourinho again publicly criticized the players. This affected the atmosphere and did not like the management

Mourinho's methods of working with players remained the same: Jose often publicly criticized the players and their attitude to business. It started very quickly and became too big.

There were several conflicts with individual players. It all started with Danny Rose, continued with criticism of Ndombele. Even Daniel Levy had to intervene in the situation to settle the differences. Then Dele fell into disgrace for a long time, and during the break of the match with Liverpool there was a skirmish with Serge Aurier. As the situation worsened, Mourinho increasingly criticized players in post-match interviews.

“The same story has been going on since the beginning of the season. This is something that depends on the individual characteristics of the players, their skills and abilities. It's simple, ”- complained Mourinho about the loss of points after the match with Fulham.

Mourinho's dissatisfaction with the defensive players resulted in constant rotation and a complete lack of stability. At first, the main pair were Sanchez and Dyer, then Toby and Dyer, Sanchez abruptly became the last choice, then Toby suddenly dropped out of the base, Sanchez returned to the start, gradually Rodon was introduced into the lineup.

“Same coach, different players,” is Mourinho's answer to the question of the difference between defensive stability in his early years and the current situation. The Athletic wrote that the management asked Jose to stop publicly criticizing the players. Mourinho only stopped for the match against Manchester United, but it was already too late. Such comments could not but affect the atmosphere in the locker room.

Jose split the dressing room. The players even admitted it publicly.

Antoine Griezmann described Hugo Lloris as a man of few words, but if Hugo starts talking, then everyone in the locker room listens to him. After the match against Zagreb, Lloris burst into an 8-minute interview: “The club is full of ambition, but the situation in the team reflects what is happening at the club. We lack foundations, foundations. I will not go deeper. I meant we weren't good enough. It's one thing to talk about ambition on cameras, it's another to show it every day in training, in games - it's no longer fake.

The hardest part in football is being a team. Whatever the manager's decision, you must act in the best interest of the team. If this happens only when you are put in the starting lineup, then the team will have problems, because one day you have to pay for it. Today was the consequence of this approach. We have had wonderful moments in the past because we were one. I do not know now. I'm not sure about that. "

After the match with Manchester United, Son gave an interview. “We try, but we make the same mistakes ... This is not to say that we were unlucky. We can say that it is unlucky when this happens once. The players understand what is happening and we must take responsibility for these mistakes. " Alasder Gold, a Tottenham reporter for football.london, noted that this interview illustrates the mood in the team: even Sonny, one of the most upbeat people you can meet, is completely overwhelmed. The guys from the club channel admitted that in 6 years at the club and a large number of interviews, they had never seen Son so devastated. It became obvious that the mood in the team was decadent.

“Four or five players hated Mourinho, four or five liked him, another four or five just scored,” The Athletic quoted a source as saying. The locker room was split.

The dismissal of Mourinho was a matter of time after departure from Zagreb. But the moment of resignation surprises

This is not to say that Mourinho did not try to rectify the situation. When Ndombele regained his condition, he moved him to the center of the field, paired with Heuberg, and put Lucas in the ten position. Moura sank deeper, dribbling the ball and collecting fouls due to his individual qualities. Lamela moved from the right flank to the center, from where he could give the last pass, dribble or score with a rabona. Of course, everything was tied to individual qualities, but Mourinho tried to choose everything in such a way that the players could demonstrate them. It helped, but at a short distance. After the failure in Zagreb, it became clear that the dismissal of Mourinho was a matter of time.

In the games against Aston Villa and the first half against Newcastle, Mourinho returned to the classic 4-4-2 with Vinicius and Kane leading the way. Ironically, a coach who revolutionized the full-time 4-3-3 in the mid-2000s has returned to the traditional English 4-4-2 to save his career.

In defense of Jose, we can say that there was no opportunity to fully work with the team. Out of 32 matches, Tottenham had only 6 times more time to prepare than their opponents, and by the end of February Spurs had 40 matches in all tournaments, the most in the top 5 championships. This could serve as an excuse if there was at least one positive point. In the case of Mourinho, unfortunately, there is nothing to get hold of: a terrible game, a lack of results and a fragmented dressing room. A combination of factors made Mourinho's departure inevitable.

The only thing that surprises is the time of retirement. Levi had two opportunities to fire Mourinho: in the winter after a series of defeats and after the failure in Zagreb. Levy left Jose, and it looked like he would at least be allowed to work up to the League Cup final, as much as possible until the end of the season. Apparently, after the match with Everton, the situation became even worse, and Levy decided that there was no point in postponing further.

Ryan Mason will lead Tottenham until the end of the season. This is also a beautiful story. More than six years ago, Mauricio Pochettino released 23-year-old Mason as a substitute in a League Cup match against Nottingham Forest. The long-range shot brought victory to Tottenham and helped Mason to gain a foothold at the base. Since then, the era of Pochettino at Tottenham has passed, Mourinho has worked for three clubs, and Ryan himself suffered a serious head injury in January 2017 in a collision with Gary Cahill and ended up playing football a year later. On Sunday, Mason will lead the home club in the League Cup final.


The appointment of Mourinho is clearly Levy's mistake. On the one hand, Daniel was guided exclusively by business goals, invited a superstar to make the club's brand more global and more attractive. Bale's loan also happened, which Jose did not want. On the other hand, Levi's long-standing passion for Mourinho blinded him. The Telegraph writes that some board members proposed to fire Jose back in February, but Daniel believed in the Portuguese to the last.

The scenario was eerily similar to Jose's last clubs, Chelsea and Manchester United. The familiar cycle of being fired at the start of the third season was 17 months, the peak may have been brighter than previous clubs, but it was local and did not bring trophies for the first time since Leiria (season 2001/02). Jose often said the right things, but could not change anything. The Independent writes that Tottenham will compensate Jose of £ 15 million. Mourinho is fired during the season from his third club in a row under similar circumstances.

The Portuguese career is increasingly descending. Jose's contract at Tottenham (15 million a year until 2023) already looked strange and illogical against the backdrop of leaving Manchester United and Chelsea. Now it is even more difficult to imagine that he will be given some kind of work in a large or promising project. Even the last trophy argument of Mourinho's supporters no longer works. There are more and more arguments in favor of the fact that he has fallen behind indiscriminately. Maybe it's time to join the national team?

Photo: REUTERS/ Toby Melville; / Dan Mullan, Shaun Botterill, Clive Rose, Andrew Boyers - Pool, Clive Brunskill, Clive Rose, Catherine Ivill

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