After their incredible run to reach last season’s Champions League final and a third-place finish in the Premier League, Tottenham looked set to sustain a period of challenging at the top for the biggest trophies. However, after a poor start to the new season, Mauricio Pochettino was sacked with Jose Mourinho quickly being appointed as his replacement.
As a result, we’re going to look at how Mourinho has changed Spurs in such a short space of time.
Making Tough Decisions
Following his appointment on November 23rd, Mourinho has, at the time of writing, gone on to win three of his opening four fixtures at Spurs. Moreover, the North London side have scored 11 goals in that time. To strike a balance between attack and defence, the two-time Champions League-winning coach has lined up with two holding midfield players in each of his first four matches.
However, despite a short reign, the world-renowned Portuguese manager has already demonstrated his tactical versatility through early in-game alterations in European competition. In a must-win match in Group B at home to Olympiacos, the English outfit fell two goals behind before, in the 29th minute, the Tottenham Head Coach altered his system by bringing off Eric Dier for Christian Eriksen. After the change, the hosts went on to win the game 4-2 thanks to goals from Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Serge Aurier.
During the 2018-19 final against Liverpool, much was made of Pochettino’s decision to start a lacking-match-fitness Kane ahead of semi-final hero, Lucas Moura. Although it remains unclear as to whether that selection would have impacted the result, Mourinho has already proven that he is prepared to make tough decisions for the good of the team and, ultimately, that knowhow could be essential if Spurs are to achieve their ambitions this season.
Getting the Best Out of Dele Alli
Before the appointment of Mourinho and in the latter stages of Pochettino’s reign, Dele Alli struggled for both consistency and form. Since the Portuguese head coach arrived in London, however, the 23-year-old midfielder appears rejuvenated and back to his ruthless best.
The former MK Dons prospect has started in every game thus far under the 56-year-old and, in that time, has scored four goals and assisted another. When compared to his early-season statistical return, Alli had been involved in just three goals, which demonstrates the stark contrast in his performances following the management change at Tottenham. As the midfielder’s fortunes begin to change, and with the goals returning to the London Stadium, it’s hardly surprising that Spurs are 13/5 with English Premier League betting with Paddy Power as of December 5th to secure a top-four finish come the end of the 2019-20 season.
Shortly after his appointment and in light of his recent lacklustre displays, Mourinho jokingly questioned Alli on whether he was himself or his brother. Moreover, along with clever man-management, the Spurs head coach has altered the Englishman’s position to a role that operates just off Kane and, at present, the North London side are reaping the rewards of that tactical adjustment.
A North-London Revival is on the Cards
Although there haven’t been any real sweeping alterations, Mourinho has been able to get the best out of his side with several subtle tweaks. Crucially, with the squad that he has at his disposal combined with the decision-making and tactical changes that have been introduced, Tottenham could yet secure a place in next season’s Champions League through a top-four league finish.