Jose not blameless for Spurs crisis but Poch return would not help

Jose Mourinho is not blameless for the current Tottenham crisis but calls to bring back Mauricio Pochettino are absurd… Spurs were just as bad (if not worse) under their former manager whose problems still linger at the Lane

  • Tottenham Hotspur have lost four consecutive games under Jose Mourinho
  • Season is in huge danger of falling apart after being dumped out of the FA Cup
  • Their league form is suffering and a Champions League exit looks likely too
  • But Spurs’s troubles started long before Mourinho took charge in November
  • The club are still suffering from from ex-boss Mauricio Pochettino’s errors 

What an absolute mess Tottenham Hotspur are in. A team that many rather foolishly considered as the third best team in the Premier League pre-season is now starting to look grateful they have 40 points as they stare down the table. 

League form has left many supporters wondering where on earth the next win is coming from. In addition, they have just been completely outplayed at home in the Champions League by a German side and have suffered an embarrassing defeat on penalties by a supposed inferior outfit to bow out of another domestic cup.

Jose Mourinho has a lot to answer for judging by the fallout from the FA Cup shootout loss by Norwich City. Spurs have not been this bad since… oh, November. 

Jose Mourinho looks on during his side’s fourth consecutive defeat at the hands of Norwich City during Wednesday night’s FA Cup fifth round tie at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Spurs were dumped out on penalties against a side who sit bottom of the Premier League table

And you couldn’t blame Mourinho then. The buck stopped with Mauricio Pochettino, whose side were languishing 14th in the Premier League, were toothless on their way to a Carabao Cup exit at League Two Colchester and were hammered 7-2 by Bayern Munich in their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe.

Yet many of the supporters who are now already losing patience with Mourinho and pining for a Pochettino return were left devastated when the Argentine was sacked having suffered similar if not arguably worse form.

The Argentine was spared of a frenzy regarding his position but the Spurs rot started to set on his watch, long before Mourinho arrived.

In the 24 league games prior to Pochettino’s sacking stretching back to the previous season they took just 25 points, that’s the ratio of a team battling relegation.

Pochettino was given over £100million to spend in the summer on reinforcements to help address a slide in domestic form which was being heavily masked from view by an incredible, if also fortuitous, run to the Champions League final. 

Under Pochettino Spurs reached the Champions League final in 2019 but offered limp resistance against Liverpool before going down 2-0 in Madrid

Tanguy Ndombele has shown talent but poor fitness has severely hampered his time at Spurs


Feb 19: RB Leipzig (H – CL) – lost 0-1

Feb 22: Chelsea (A – PL) – lost 1-2

Mar 1: Wolves (H – PL) – lost 2-3

Mar 4: Norwich (H – FA) – drew 1-1 (lost 2-3 on penalties)

Once the limp collapse to Liverpool in Madrid passed, Pochettino’s summer recruitment consisted of bringing in Tanguy Ndombele for a club record £63million, Giovani Lo Celso on loan (later made permanent for £27million) and Ryan Sessegnon for £25million.

Lo Celso has since impressed (yet only after Mourinho took charge) but Ndombele is an enigma in that he can only play for half-an-hour before looking totally knackered. Sessegnon has yet to convince his arrival is the sign of any upgrade.

So that is £100m spent with a net result of little improvement, yet that might not even be the worst aspect of Pochettino’s summer. Kieran Trippier was sold, leaving just one senior right-back in Serge Aurier whose inconsistent performances have left him exposed as a weak link.

In addition, the club’s only back-up striker to Harry Kane in Fernando Llorente was allowed to leave on a free. Neither he nor Trippier were replaced.

Midfield options were just as concerning. With a lack of alternatives, Pochettino often played Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko as holding midfielders despite neither of them ever looking comfortable doing so.

Tottenham were in just as big a mess under former boss Mauricio Pochettino in November

Under the Argentine, Spurs suffered their heaviest home defeat in Europe by Bayern Munich

It was no surprise the players were unhappy. Sissoko claimed following the defeat by Bayern that Pochettino’s tactics were tiring them. Others became concerned when the Argentine became a more distant figure on the training ground. Key players such as Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen wanted out.

And perhaps so did Pochettino. On the touchline and in press conferences he cut a more dejected figure every passing week and his sacking in November was the best for both himself and Spurs.

Mourinho has since come in and while the football has not been pretty, it was good enough to spark a revival. After beating Aston Villa 3-2 last month, only Liverpool had scored more points than Spurs following the Portuguese’s appointment as they climbed to the brink of a Champions League spot.

And then his only fit forward left in Son Heung-min got injured, ruling him out for a large remainder of the campaign.

Harry Kane picked up a hamstring injury on New Year’s Day at Southampton as he is consoled by manager Jose Mourinho. Kane is set to miss most of Spurs’s remaining fixtures

After netting a match winning brace at Aston Villa, Son Heung-min will also miss a large remainder of the season leaving Spurs without a recognised striker

Since then have come four defeats to bring back the bad old days of 2019, but Mourinho has been hamstrung without three of the best players Pochettino possessed in Harry Kane (also injured long term), Son and Christian Eriksen (sold to Inter Milan).

Mourinho has not been blameless for Spurs’s current woes – staring Michel Vorm in goal on Wednesday night was a blunder waiting to happen – but he at the very least deserves a full summer to try and fix a squad that has more holes than a sieve.

Spurs fans are just going to have to suck it up and accept that this is, and was always going to be, a very bad season rather than pin all the blame on Mourinho who can only do so much with so little.

If they want to hold someone to account, they do not even have to blame Pochettino. Years of under investment in the team from the board have failed him and many of his predecessors too. Chairman Daniel Levy is just as much to blame for the current mess if not more so. Granted a new training ground and stadium have been built on his watch but world record profits of £113m have also been announced. The money is there.

Fans may still consider Mourinho as the problem and want him gone after just four months. But would re-hiring the man who over five years helped contribute to the current crisis and won nothing really be the answer?  

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has often been conservative in his transfer market approach

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