Danny Murphy has defended Jose Mourinho and suggested that the Tottenham boss does not deserve the criticism he receives for his alleged negative style of play.
On the back of Tottenham’s elimination from the Europa League on Thursday, multiple reports in the British press suggested that Mourinho’s future in North London was in doubt.
It was claimed that the Portuguese coach needs to guide Spurs to a top-four finish to keep his job, with the Tottenham hierarchy already said to be assessing potential replacements.
However, Tottenham’s win at Villa Park on Sunday eased some pressure off Mourinho with the victory taking the Lilywhites to within three points off fourth-placed Chelsea.
Murphy pointed out that Spurs could still go on to have a very good season considering they are still in the race for the top four and have a Carabao Cup final to look forward to.
The former Tottenham midfielder told talkSPORT: “We have to give it perspective, the midweek performance and result was horrendous. It was poor in so many ways.
“Over the last five games, Tottenham are top of the form league table. They did lose to Arsenal and didn’t play well, but they’ve been going well and playing well.
“They’d actually got themselves a bit of a run going to try and compete for the top four, they’re three points off Chelsea, so all is not lost.
“I think Mourinho is very adept at using the tools he has. I don’t think he can make Tottenham into Man City or Liverpool and play that way with the players he’s got.
“I think he looked at the group of players, and he’s tried to adapt the way he plays to get success.
“If Tottenham win that game against City and finish in the top four, that’s a tremendous achievement with that group of players.”
Murphy also asserted that Tottenham’s results would suffer if Mourinho decided to play in a more expansive manner and pointed out how some of the 58-year-old’s former sides have played entertaining football.
The pundit added: “Some will sit here and say ‘well, he should do that with that group of players. No, the budget he has and squad he’s got doesn’t compare to some of the clubs he’s competing with.
“If Mourinho walked into Manchester City tomorrow, do you think he’d play that way? No.
“We saw Mourinho with the best players at his disposal at Real Madrid and break all kinds of points and goalscoring records when they won the league.
“He also had a very fluent and good to watch Chelsea side when he had the funds to buy the best players.
“I think he’s adaptable, but I believe that Tottenham team is better than it’s shown with the quality it’s got.
“They’ve shown glimpses of that and that’s where the frustration comes as a lot of Tottenham fans think he should be more positive with the players they’ve got.
“That’s not how he’s going to get success because as soon as he plays on the front foot, they’re not going to be as competitive as they are.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I do agree with Murphy that it is harsh to label Mourinho as a defensive coach or a negative coach given what he has achieved in his career. However, at the same time, it is also true that coaching progressive build-up play is not one of Mourinho’s strengths compared to many of the younger coaches who have made a name for themselves over the last decade. If Spurs fail to finish in the top four, I cannot see Jose keeping his job.
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