Jose Mourinho has turned Tottenham into genuine Premier League title contenders
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The Jose Mourinho turnaround is complete.
Tottenham’s players have long since bought into him, the club’s hierarchy believe in his methods and, now a year into his reign, the fans have taken to him.
And no wonder. This was a Mourinho masterclass from back in his glory days with the team expertly drilled and ready to run through bricks walls for the manager, making them genuine title contenders.
It should come with the caveat that it only looks good when it works because they tried it against Liverpool in January, they defended deep and lost 1-0.
Fans were saying then that Mourinho would never understand Tottenham’s philosophy of winning with style.
Jose Mourinho has had a big impact
(Image: Jed Leicester/Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock)
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But the difference now is that the fans, albeit locked out and stuck at home in front of the TV, can see the results and, like a broken hearted lover, finally seem ready to move on from Mauricio Pochettino because they have found someone new.
We used to take the barometer of the fans in the stadium and this brilliantly, engrossing game would have whipped up a great atmosphere. Now the only noise you get is from an executive box just behind the press box where all the Spurs directors sit.
They were loud enough in the key moments to make it feel almost like real football again and the fans, either Spurs supporting friends or those on social media, think Mourinho may just be on to something.
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Chas and Dave used to sing about When the Year Ends in One as Tottenham won all their trophies – the Double in 1961, League Cup in 1971, FA Cups in 1981 and 1991 – and now they must have a real chance in this season’s title race to be crowned champions in 2021.
Tottenham were 14th when Mourinho took over. They finished the Manchester City game in top spot, having transformed as a unit, defending doggedly with ten behind the ball, and individuals now looking like well-drilled players.
Serge Aurier used to be a liability and now looks able to defend. Eric Dier had lost his way yet his defensive partnership with Toby Alderweireld looks rock solid. Tanguy Ndombele is superb, hard working and fits into the team while providing the X Factor.
Remember Sky pundit Paul Merson’s jibe about Harry Kane not being able to score or play under Mourinho? He’s breaking goalscoring records and has now got nine assists in nine Premier League games.
Mourinho celebrates with his players at the end of the game
(Image: Neil Hall/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Manchester City dominated possession but created relatively few clear cut chances and Pep Guardiola needs another striker because Sergio Aguero’s fitness is clearly an issue.
One TV wag claimed Manchester City are like a tribute band – they look like Manchester City, play like Manchester City and yet aren’t quite as good as Manchester City.
Guardiola is a genius and City won’t regret giving him a new contract just because they lost one game but they must use this as a catalyst to rebuild. Shore up the defensive frailties and find a solution up front because they look as if they have forgotten how to score.
Ndombele’s pass to set up Heung-min Son for the first goal after five minutes was brilliant but the Spurs striker had a clear run through the heart of the City defence.
After 66 minutes, it worked again. Dier’s clearance found Kane who led the counter attack and his lay-off for Giovani Lo Celso was brilliant to set up the substitute to score 35 seconds after coming on.
It was smash and grab. But Tottenham can now play on the counter attack, destroy teams as they did Manchester United at Old Trafford and grind out tight wins like they did at West Brom.