Mourinho to Spurs piles the pressure on Solskjaer at Man Utd

Date published: Thursday 21st November 2019 10:03

Send your thoughts to…

Woodward and Levy
I get the talk around a potential move to Utd by Poch, but I haven’t yet read whether his last contract either did or didn’t contain a stipulation that he couldn’t join another PL club after Spurs, and regardless of whether he walked or was pushed. From what I know of Levy it wouldn’t surprise me. What follows is an assumption that he (Poch) doesn’t have any such restriction.

My angle is more for the Utd supporters. Making Ole DoF, hiring Poch as Manager (and not ‘head coach’) as well as giving him a respectable budget to spend must, surely, be a no f**king brainer for Woodward? If it works, fans are happy, optimistic and genuinely excited about what will follow. Eduardo is a genius and the faithful at OT consequently insist he has a statue made and a stand named after him.

If it doesn’t work, he likewise gets to say to the same supporters “Pffft! Told yer! NOW will you listen to me?” (No, they wouldn’t).

And here is my laboured point. Levy and Woodward are cut from the same cloth. Short term media ‘hits’ designed to pacify their respective fan base whilst ensuring those super lucrative deals keep coming in. Whilst doing so both are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. How will either not be a ‘Leeds’ of 2019/20? Can you see Levy giving an unprecedented pile of cash to Mourinho? Or Woody buying Bale and others that simply will NOT move that club on?

Both Spurs and Utd are better than this and I sincerely hope it doesn’t end in tears.
Mark (I suspect it will). MCFC


Solskjaer’s big weekend
The events of the last few days mean this weekend could not be bigger for Ole Gunner Solksjaer. By the time Man Utd play a very tricky away tie on Sunday they could realistically be in 11th or 12th place. That’s assuming Spurs beat West Ham, Everton beat Norwich & Burnley beat Watford on Saturday. Then if either of Wolves or Bournemouth win they also jump United – if they draw they both do.

This could get even worse if Brighton or Crystal Palace get an unlikely result.

Would anyone blame Woodward for sacking him for being in the bottom half going into December? Especially with such a great replacement now available. If he has any sense he will be sounding out Pochettino’s agent this week. He may have a tough decision to make on Monday morning.
Jim Bob (He’s probably off to Bayern anyway)


Grounds for concern
The more I think about it, the more I think Levy’s move smacks of desperation.

Why else would you decimate your own transfer budget by paying off your manager only to recruit another manager and pay him double?

The move has short term written all over it.

I’d like to think Arsenal would never have fired Arsene back in 2006 if Spurs players hadn’t had the dodgy lasagne but in all honesty I think Arsene would have been fired. We just couldn’t afford not to.

Would Spurs be sacking Poch were it not for the stadium? I highly doubt it.

It may look lovely and new but that stadium could yet be an albatross around their neck as can they really afford to pay off £15m a season Jose if this all goes tits up?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Jose out
I first started supporting Spurs about 20 years ago, as a kid, back in the era of George Graham and Glenn Hoddle. It wasn’t great. Teddy Sheringham was great, but supporting Spurs in general wasn’t. But I watched anyway. I watched Stephen Carr chugging slowly up and down the right flank, I watched Sol Campbell look like a hero and then a villain, and I watched Robbie Keane begin his journey to legendary status.

Then for a few years I fell out of love with the game. Mostly because I got hospitalised by an opposition defender during an under-15s game. Fractured hip, torn hamstring and ruptured ACL, because his coach had told him to ‘leave a mark’. I know, because I heard him yelling it. That was the game everyone loved, and it was horrible. It still is, for that matter.

But a few years later football reeled me back in regardless. Harry Redknapp came along and Spurs became entertaining again. Watching them was exciting. End to end stuff, always happy to try and score one more than you. Not winning anything, but that doesn’t matter. My juniors club never won anything either, but we had fun.

Then it all imploded, again in pretty entertaining fashion if I’m honest. AVB came in and I thought ‘good, he’ll tighten things up and we’ll improve’. And we did. And it was a really likeable team. Modric was gone, but we still had Bale, Sandro, Assou-Ekotto. And say what you like about Tim Sherwood (as we all have) but that half-season was brilliant fun. Like a one-night stand that you absolutely know you shouldn’t go anywhere near again.

The last few years have been great. Exhilarating stuff. Spurs in the Champions League! Spurs in the Champions League final! Thanks to Pochettino for all that.

But that’s not my point here. My point, in a very roundabout, rambling way (sorry) is that Mourinho represents everything I hate about football. He is greedy, he is vicious, he is unpleasant. He is the man who built a team to take pride in denying Spurs the title. Not winning for its own sake, but because it hurts someone else. That’s what Mourinho is. I’m aware Pochettino is by no means of paragon of virtue, and there’s a fair amount of snide in this Spurs team, but at least with Pochettino it felt like a means to an end, not an end in itself. Feel free to disagree, but I prefer to actually like the team I support.

This got longer than I intended, so I’ll stop. But it was cathartic to write this all out. Anyway, thus begins day 1 of the Mourinho Out campaign.

Harry, THFC (A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth – Tyrion Lannister)


Poch had it coming
The thing I love about the whole Pochettino saga at Spurs is that, Whatever Pocchettino did, was gold dust to many Spurs fans *before* he began to talk about leaving the club. The club he kept saying he loved & wouldn’t ever leave unless he had too.

For a man who seemingly defines honesty & trust, who won’t drop players who aren’t loyal to the club any more, who clearly has favorites & who asks players to walk over hot coals to prove their loyalty it was a baffling statement.

The amazing thing about Pochettino was that Levy let him carry on as long as he did; not because MP did an awful job or anything like that but because he started to show utter contempt to the powers that be in the summer. Talk of leaving, change of title when referred to as manager to ‘coach’ & the idea from him that he had no say in transfers. Couple that with 6 wins since Feb & a side who cannot win away from home & this should have come sooner.

Anyone who follows the club knew there was a transfer group, of 4. Jesus, DL, Steve Hitchen and MP. MP himself said he would rather wait for the right player than sign one for the sake of it. We didn’t sign players & then when we did this summer, it was too late because it would take them 18 months to adapt to his style of play. If any manager thinks a signing can be at half speed for 18 months before the board see a return on 70+ million (like with Ndombele) they have well and truly lost the plot, and that is the problem, MP lost it, Froze, gave up, whatever it was, it wasn’t the man to lead Spurs forward.

Then there’s the matter of this youth policy, this myth that MP plays youth players and brings them through, so Mourinho won’t; From memory Onomah, Pritchard, Oakley-Boothe, Edwards, Sterling, Carter-vickers, Bentaleb, Carroll have all been through MP & all apparently destined for the top…where are they now? Alli, Dier, Sanchez et al were bought into the club & Harry Kane was already doing what he does under AVB. KWP & Winks have come through the academy and played bit part roles but seem surplus this season already just when we needed their fight and passion for the club. The aforementioned Dier & Alli have regressed, As has Eriksen, Vertonghen, Lloris et al and that is a sure sign that what Kieron Trippier said was right, the trouble behind the scenes was far worse than envisaged.

There was a growing sense around the training ground players were scared to even look at Pochettino such was his anger, and a belief he was offered the chance to resign by Levy, but refused only added fuel to the fire that he wanted out, but wouldn’t go. He didn’t not leave because he loved the club or Because he thought he could still turn our awful season around, but simply because his loyalty will lie somewhere else,Probably with Bayern & the money they will now throw at him as a free agent so the sacking & severance package suited.


…As expected, there are floods of articles and memoirs of Pochettino’s so called “success” at Spurs.

Sorry. I’m not having it. A manager who did not win a single trophy during his reign at a club cannot be considered a success.

Poch undeniably took Spurs to a level they have not been at for years. He made them Champions League regulars and even took them to the final in that competition. He did it with a shoestring budget when compared to the teams around him. He did this whilst they had to play at Wembley for 18 or so months. He turned a team good players into a great team. For all of this Poch deserves all the credit in the world, and bar a handful of teams he will walk into any club as their manager. He’s a fantastic coach and should be rightly praised.

But at the end of the day all of that does not measure success. Actual, tangible silverware does. It’s how a club defines its success. When we argue with Man United fans about who is the most successful club we don’t point to how many Champions League campaigns or 2nd place finishes we had. We point to trophies.

I would say the exact same thing about Klopp. If he were to leave us tomorrow he can be considered a success due to the fact he won our 6th European Cup. That was him and the team HE built. If Klopp left us with constant 2nd placed league finishes and losing in several finals that simply cannot be considered successful. It’s progress, and that should be praised, but not success.

Poch should be given all the praise in the world for the job he did at Spurs, but he cannot be labelled as a success until he wins something. Maybe that’s an old fashioned opinion, but I find it laughable how much the bar is lowered to consider something in football to be a success.
Curtis, LFC, Belfast (Get your house on Spurs to win the FA Cup)


For a site that ordinarily operates with a far greater degree of editorial freedom than many others, I’ve been slightly surprised to see the responses of F365 to Jose Mourinho’s appointment at Spurs. The site has, rightly, often criticised the knee-jerk prejudgements made by mainstream media outlets who have decried the folly of managerial appointments (most notably Marco Silva at Hull and Bob Bradley at Swansea) before their sides have even kicked a ball. I ask genuinely, rather than rhetorically, should Mourinho not be subject to the same benefit of the doubt? Or is it the case that you believe his past track record makes preemptive negativity valid? Maybe this is what makes it different? I don’t know – your editorial line just feels more forced and reductive than usual on this one.

If Mourinho can break the pervasive bridesmaid culture at Spurs, he may be able to instil a longer term winning ethos and mentality at the club. Even when the inevitable car crash third season rolls around, perhaps this will outlast him (it did at Chelsea). And his history certainly proves that he has operated at his best at clubs operating just below the top tier looking to fight their way into the cabal of more dominant sides: Chelsea, Inter and Porto (beyond the domestic sphere). Could it be a successful marriage in this sense? Can he galvanise the players in the same way he did at Chelsea and Inter, encouraging them to see their superiors as peers and take them on to the next level? I’m genuinely not sure – I don’t know if he’s just taken appointments that didn’t suit him in Real/Man Utd, and to a lesser extent his second stint at Chelsea, or whether, like many many managers, he has had his day in the sun and the game has moved on from his previously winning pragmatism and a defensive organisation built on a greater degree of passivity and reaction than we see from the likes of Pool and City. Players from his first Chelsea days, and the ones from Inter, saw him as a brilliant mentor and a superb influence, and many have talked about the debt they owe him. The type of player at Real, and to a lesser extent Man Utd, were different beasts to the largely undecorated ones that hungered for the kind of success he represented; could this be the case again? Or is it, again, that his man-management has become anachronistic and out-of-touch.

Part of me would love to see the old José back, putting noses out of joint, inspiring his players and playing the role of an enjoyable pantomime villain in the theatre of title races and rivalries. The other part of me thinks that he’s been such a miserable, occasionally immoral, pr*ck for the last half decade, so why do I want to cut him slack. I’m confusing myself.
Richy Malb@lls


Slowly coming around
I wrote in yesterday proclaiming the death of Tottenham Hotspurs, but after a day of reassessing and letting it sink. I still think it’s going to be a big old mess, but thanks to the media, some truths have come out today that have led me to reassess it all, I’m now 70/30, on how terrible this is as opposed to 95/5 yesterday.
What has brought this 25% swing about. Firstly, Mourinho has won 25 trophies to Pochettino’s 0. That is staggering. Second, Mourinho historically starts of good, then gets really good, before imploding. Of the 3 top-tier teams he has managed, this has always been the case, I don’t personally consider Spurs a top-tier team, its more in the Porto, Inter level, just below the giants. Spurs have been on the verge for the last 3 years, so basically giving Mourinho 2 years to work with a very good squad. If history repeats, they see an uptick in results this season, and they go beast-mode next season. I strongly believe Mourinho went into the interview, and spoke about the strength of Spurs squad and the fact that a rebuild wasn’t needed, only strengthening in a few cheap positions. Which is actually plausible because this is still a squad that made the CL final, and has been very competitive for 3-4 years. It’s very plausible that Mourinho knows he can win with this Spurs squad, it’s not a rebuild like he faced at Man U, it’s a team that needs 1-2 additions to properly compete. Thirdly, it became clear Poch wanted out and wasn’t willing to continue this relationship, I personally thought they’d do what Dortmund did with Klopp, where they gave him the entire season as grace for all he’d done, Levy is cut throat, Mourinho is cut throat, I wonder if it’s just a better marriage. It seemed like Levy just took advantage of Poch until Poch couldn’t take it anymore. With Mourinho, he will not take it, so basically it becomes to powerful men getting into a relationship where none will be submissive. Mourinho will be first to speak out when Spurs haven’t got 2 of his 3 requests. Fourth, Poch left clubs midseason for personal ambition and then got moody at the end of a 5 year stint at his biggest gig, when he felt he was missing out on bigger opportunities vis-a-vis Mourinho who gets moody when the squad isn’t refreshed to his liking every 3 years. Sounds like very similar individuals to me, which then draws me back to point one, one has 25 medals, the other 0. With spurs now living in the best stadium in the world, they probably want the media crowd who will follow Mourinho. He is more charismatic, more recognizable by americans, and more commanding. If he delivers, that will push Spurs to the next level. The final piece of the puzzle, spurs built a football/nfl stadium. It got me thinking, this may not have even been about Spurs as an entity, but about creating both a football and nfl business in one building. I have heard that teams like the LA Chargers and Jaguars are contemplating moving to the UK. Levy could be ahead of the game however unlikely it looks, and what better way to bring Americans along than have the most explosive manager at his side.
Dave(still think it’s a bad marriage, but I could see why they appointed Mourinho), Somewhere


Mourinho deserves respect
Yes, Seb, wouldn’t it be awful if Mourinho actually won the league cup with Spurs? How horrible that would be for spurs, how degrading for the once illustrious club. What a horrible distraction from all the real success Spurs have achieved under Poch.

You used the 2 year cycle as a stick with which to beat Jose, a period of success followed by an inevitable downturn. You fail to consider that there could be a Poch cycle. The end of last, and all of this season easily qualifies as a downturn, the only difference is actually winning something. I’d take a trophy in 2 years over nothing in 4, it’s better to burn out than fade away.

Is Mourinho’s Porto/Chelsea/Inter “all in the past”, but Spurs actually being good a few seasons ago counts as the present and future, even though it’s clear the present is dismal?

It’s fine if you hate Jose, but the bottom falls out if you box it up as a bad strategic decision without reference to the alternative (Poch continuing).

I’m a Leeds fans, but my appreciation for Jose isn’t based on peering over the Pennines during the end of him Man U tenure. I believe he does deserve respect for what he has achieved.

I’m also an admirer of Poch, he did glorious things to take Spurs from where they were and sustained that over a few seasons. They consistently performing above what could reasonably be expected of them, but that has failed off, and they’ve sustained that underperformance for months on end.

I’m sure all Spurs fans will be grateful for his contribution, but a large proportion would also trade that sustained period of almost success for a “Leicester season”.
P.S I’ll happily eat my words if Poch takes Man U back to the title when he inevitable takes over for the 20/21 season.


…I am sure that since yesterday, almost all of the mails (or at least majority of them, btw, Congratulations Wales!!) would have been related to the appointment of Mourinho as the ‘head coach’ at Tottenham. Everyone has been wading in with their opinion on how this is appointment is going to turn south very very very soon. And I thought even I might jump up the bandwagon and throw my two pence on the subject matter.

For starters, I support one of the clubs that Mourinho has previously managed (Clue: the club is taking 1 step forward and 2 backwards as I type and has been perpetually in a state of transition since the past half decade). But while everyone is taking potshots at his appointment, I would like to draw attention to certain other interesting points. It has been quite a while since the general football management has realized that Mourinho’s methods have a very limited shelf life. He works on the principle of immediate returns (even moderate returns would suffice in some cases) and generally tends to leave the club in a much worse condition at the end of his so called ‘cycle’ – a trick that’s been repeated time and over again at clubs much bigger than Tottenham. And while he has been repeating this trick, his contemporaries have moved ahead of him – the progressive coaches who have changed/modified their methods with time. Choosing Tottenham has been a very risky choice by the usually risk averse Mourinho (Selecting clubs with the ability to splash cash left right and centre). Mourinho is genuinely at a crossroad (a crossroad similar to one shown in Harry Potter, where the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore takes place and Harry has the chance to choose between moving on or returning back). If things go south, he would be considered another washed up manager, someone who’s frozen in time (ala Arsene, in his final few years) and would probably not get a crack at managing other elite clubs.

We all know how risky it is for Tottenham, a decision that would be criticized till eternity if it backfires and probably waste the efforts of the past 5 – 6 years. But at this juncture, appointing Mourinho does make sense when you consider the rebuilding that is required at Spurs. A manager with player pulling power – check, a manager with a pedigree – check, a chance for Tottenham to prove that they are at the big boys table – check.

Now I am just hoping that Mourinho signs Matic!!
Kunal, India.


Fearful of Spurs again
There is this underlying suspicion that Spurs squad will suit Mourinho better than what he had at MU.

True, at MU, he was allowed to spend and buy whoever he wanted, but clearly he bought badly (maybe he had too much money? Or a chairman that was too compliant and too easy to convince? who knows. But it’ll be different at Spurs).

I just look at the Spurs squad, see lots of hard running, fit players. Lamela, Sissoko, Ndombele, Aurier, Winks, Skipp, Dier, Kane himself. Perfect Mourinho. I think Son will be a good piece in that jigsaw too. Alli too but he needs to sort his head out. The one you have to say won’t suit Mourinho is Eriksen, he is Spurs’ Mata. Out of goes, probably not for huge money either, he is no Hazard.

The defence is good, they have the personel. At MU, he had no defence. Mourinho needs a strong defence and I say at Spurs, he’s already got it, more or less. He might want to shift Lloris, Gazzaniga and Rose later, but for now they’ll do.

This Chelsea fan is worried – I think Spurs will be a force.
Mike, CFC Blue in Auckland


Say ‘cheese’, Jose
C’mon, people. First, we’ve got weeping and gnashing of teeth, threats of season tickets being cancelled, probably pitchforks and torches being sharpened and lit as we speak, general revisionism and “Maureen”, as if that’s going to make the principal protagonists feel humbled..

The first press conference – of course no-one is looking at the center of the picture, everyone’s looking at the corners – “he said that, but he really means this” and sure enough he’s reeling them in like the Porto fisherman he talks to in the recent documentary. HE SAID OUR ACADEMY ISN’T VERY GOOD! Good for clicks, it’s no wonder the media pretend to hate him and really love him.

Ask Scott McTominay what he thinks about Jose Mourinho (see, it’s not hard to spell, you just have to try) and the “failure of youth promotion” millstone kind of crumbles. Didn’t McTominay thank him and still call him for advice? Yes, I know it’s the most recent memory, but, let’s face it, memories are short in the Premier League business, so let’s stick with what even the “Maureen”-haters can remember. By the way, if the best you can come up with to disparage a man is to call him a woman’s name, you just might like to take a long, hard look at yourself. [c.f. “Brenda”]

And no, the appointment didn’t happen overnight, no, the timing wasn’t poor, no, it just takes time to interview, agree terms and sign a contract. When was the last time you were offered a new job and you had the paperwork squared away in 12 hours? Do you think Levy terminated Pochettino and then posted the vacancy on PremJobs? Get real. Again, looking at the corners and ignoring the middle of the picture.

I am shamelessly paraphrasing a comment on Barney Ronay’s article in the Guardian a couple of days ago, but the decline at Spurs began when the Cheese Room was officially cancelled.

Prior to the Cheese Scandal, Spurs had 60 points from 26 games in 2018/19. Post-Cheese on February 11th – 26 points from 25 games. If Jose gets some fine Portuguese azeitão onto the lunch menu, I guarantee results will improve.

C’est la brie.
Steve, Los Angeles


Confused Gooner
As a Gooner, I don’t know to feel.

On the one hand:
Enjoyment that Spurs got rid of an incredible manager after not supporting him appropriately
Incredulous laughter that they went from that progressive forward thinking manager to Jose
Relief that this stops our board from going after Mourinho

But on the other:
Disappointment that Spurs probably still have a better manager than us (even if I didn’t want him for Arsenal) and are showing more ambition
Worry that they will likely do better than us this year
Fear that United will probably get Poch now and be good again

So many emotions
Amro (Dreaming of waking up to see Emery is Out and Ten Hag is in)


Anywhere but there
With Jose Mourinho joining Chelsea’s rivals Spurs, it brings me to ask the mailbox this, which manager in your club’s history would you hate to join your direct rivals and why?
Mikey, CFC


The small stuff
With the Poch/Mourinho story dominating the headlines and Mailbox, I thought I’d write in on a different tack and get some other conversation flowing.

The big reasons to love football are obvious, even to the disinterested onlooker; the roar of the crowd, the excitement of a last-minute winning goal, the community of it all. Yet for the sort of football obsessives that visit the F365 Mailbox each day, that love is much deeper. I imagine a lot of us delight in the minute detail as much as the wider picture, getting giddy kicks from the tiniest things that others may not care about, or even notice.

So my question to Mailbox readers is this: what random minutiae or small details about football do you love?

I have a few, but I’ll stick to just two for now; the first is the sound that a firmly struck shot makes when it hits the back of the net. Depending on the ground, it’s different — sometimes it’s a thick ripple of a net, another time it’ll have a metallic twang as a low drive hits a metal bar or rings holding the net in place on the ground. Those sounds, which only last for a split-second, are so bloody satisfying.

The other is the sound that a full-blooded strike makes when it thumps against the crossbar, regardless of whether the shot flies in or back out into the field of play. I’d argue that it’s a huge part of the reason that a shot that goes in off the underside of the bar is so satisfying. That sort of goal has a visceral edge to it — they’re the entire reason that Tony Yeboah is so fondly remembered.

I might chip in with a few more once the Mailbox has had its say, just wondering if other people notice those sort of things too or if I’m just some sort of sociopath.

Tom, Devon, NUFC


Messi start to the day
Thanks a bunch Daniel Storey! Now I have to explain to everyone in the office why I’m crying at my desk at 09.15 on a Thursday again!
Tom, CFC London


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