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Tottenham need tomorrow’s man Harry Kane more than yesterday’s Jose Mourinho – Brian Reade


I was whinging to a Spurs-supporting mate at the weekend about the horrors of VAR.

It was the usual script about it killing the spontaneity of the game so much that it feels like Dracula now sleeps in our grounds and rises on matchdays to suck out all joy.

Until his silence made me wonder if it was all a bit too close to home. Is that how it feels with Jose Mourinho in charge, I asked? Only to be told that if Spurs had had most of their early goals ruled out by VAR this season it would have been a blessing in disguise. Because watching them inevitably throw away leads has been horrible.

Manchester United’s comfortable comeback on Sunday meant Spurs have dropped 18 points from winning positions this season. Naturally, Mourinho puts these capitulations down to the players but when he needed to take the fight to United after they equalised on the hour, instead of sending on Gareth Bale, Dele Alli or Erik Lamela, he went for Moussa Sissoko. He’d settled for a home draw, despite needing three points to stay in contention for the Champions League places.

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Jose Mourinho’s failure to secure Champions League football for Tottenham could cost the club Harry Kane

Why such a pragmatist as Daniel Levy ever saw Mourinho as a Spurs boss is baffling. There was no evidence to show he possessed the powers or patience to rebuild a squad on a downward spiral and he had always adopted a negative mindset that was the antithesis of Spurs traditional “glory, glory” mentality.

It was also obvious that Mourinho’s own glory, glory days were, in relative terms, history. In the ten full seasons after taking the Porto job in 2002, he won seven league titles in four countries. In the nine since, he has won only one, six years ago at Chelsea, and was sacked within six months.

Also, Sunday’s defeat made it ten this season for Spurs, the first time that has happened for Mourinho in 20 years of management.

Even more uncomfortable for Levy is the sight of the much-loved manager he sacked, Mauricio Pochettino, ending Barcelona’s record streak of reaching 13 consecutive Champions League quarter-finals with a counter-attacking masterclass from his PSG side at the Nou Camp. Then following it up by knocking European champions Bayern Munich out of the competition for the first time under Hansi Flick.

Jose Mourinho is yesterday’s man

Seeing Pochettino one tie away from the Champions League final will remind Spurs fans of that recent glorious night in Amsterdam when three second-half goals against a vibrant Ajax had them in dreamland. And make many contrast the fearlessness of that Spurs side, only two years ago, with the timidity they see today under Mourinho.

But they don’t need to look at an Argentinian in Paris to realise how Mourinho’s powers have waned as there are more prosaic comparisons closer to home. Firstly the transformation of Luke Shaw from the mental wreck Mourinho reduced him to at Old Trafford into England’s best left-back under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Second, David Moyes. His West Ham side sit fourth, six points ahead of Spurs, because he has made an inferior squad to the one Mourinho has trust each other, buy into his game plan, and take gambles.

The players are attacking their way to a possible Champions League slot, going for the wins, and looking like they are loving it. Contrast their courage with a paranoid Spurs side that mirrors their manager’s suspicion of risk-taking.

The more Mourinho heaps blame on players he claimed to be more than happy with when he inherited them, the more he alienates an already disillusioned fan base.

Daniel Levy has two big decisions to make this summer if the Champions League isn’t reached. Does he cash in on Harry Kane and have a reset? If so, does he bite the bullet and pay the £30 million Mourinho will be owed with two years left on his contract?

Right now it makes sense to start next season with the fans back in the stadium under tomorrow’s man, not yesterday’s.





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