- Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott
Choosing between two leaders seems to be quite the thing at the moment, although if you’re a Spurs fan there’s no ballot, that decision has been made for you.
They went to bed mourning the loss of the man they credit with transforming their club and woke up to the news that a serial winner, though divisive personality, was now in the hot seat at White Hart lane.
There’s no fact checking required on Jose Mourinho’s CV, as Mauricio Pochettino is left to update his. Mourinho's reads: four domestic titles in four different countries and two Champions League triumphs with different clubs. But buried in the T&C’s on the same document are a few other notable entries that may have the Spurs faithful scratching their heads. Namely, the way he likes his teams to play, the money he likes to spend and the habit he’s developed of falling out with his employers and players.
Take his most recent job at Manchester United which suffered a fairly slow and painful death, all in full view of the public. Long gone was the charming and refreshing personality who first bounced into the Premier League at Chelsea 15 years ago. Long gone was the twinkle in the eye and the catchy one-liners.
Mourinho had clearly fallen out with some of his key players; “I think some care more than others” he said a month or so before he was sacked. But by then he had spent the best part of £400m and was still sitting an untouchable distance below Liverpool and neighbours City at the top of the league.
United were drifting when he took over. He specialises in being parachuted into under-performing teams - he did that at Real Madrid and Chelsea twice. Spurs fit that criteria right now, they’re 14th in the league, they have amassed only three points in their last six games and have a handful of unsettled players who are out of contract.
In his statement Mourinho said, pointedly perhaps, that “the quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.” Does that sound like a man who’s been promised a chest full of cash to spend in January? It would be remarkable if the typically parsimonious chairman Daniel Levy agreed to any such extravagance.
And what of his style? Levy himself describes Mourinho as a “great tactician”. He certainly turns out defensively resilient units but that doesn’t necessarily make them easy on the eye. Will that matter to Spurs fans? It did to United’s.
“Audere est facere” is the club motto which translates to “To dare is to do.”
Well don’t hold your breath.
Domestically, Tottenham will be a better fit for Mourinho who shacked up in a hotel for his entire Manchester tenure. Maybe living at home in London with his family will temper his apparent grumpiness.
The irony of Mourinho’s appointment is that five years ago he would almost certainly not have looked twice at this opportunity. The reason why the proposition has improved is a spanking new stadium and the gradual progress over five years made by the man he has replaced, who let’s not forget, led this team to their first ever Champions League final just 22 matches ago.