Arsenal legend changes tune on Mourinho – claims he will turn around Spurs fortunes

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Paul Merson, who has been one of Jose Mourinho’s harshest critics up until recently, has now changed his tune and suggested that the Portuguese coach will turn Tottenham into winners.

Merson suggested a few weeks ago that Harry Kane will not score the same number of goals playing the way that Jose Mourinho wants him to and insisted that there was a lack of cohesion at Spurs under the 57-year-old.

That invited a scathing rebuttal from the Tottenham boss, who responded with the goalscoring statistics of the various attacking greats he has managed (Football.London).

Merson then doubled down on his initial claim and insisted that Kane is not the type of striker that suits Mourinho’s system (Daily Star).

The former Arsenal midfielder has now surprisingly decided shower praise on the Spurs head coach this week.

He insisted that the Spurs boss was trying to inculcate a different style of play at the club that will be successful in time.

Merson told Sky Sports: “I think they’re slowly changing the way they play.

“When (Mauricio) Pochettino was there it was different. Mourinho’s come in and he plays a different way. He doesn’t want to be involved in 5-2s and 6-3s.

“He talks exactly the same as (Mikel) Arteta. If you’re good defensively, you’ve got much more chance of winning football matches.

“I think he’s just starting to put his footprint on this team and I think they are going to be very hard to beat. They’re not going to be the entertaining team, but that’s the way it is.

“Mourinho has won everything in the game. You don’t go into Tottenham and change your way of playing for players who have never won anything. You make sure that they play your way and you win them trophies.

“People go, ‘you can’t win like that anymore, winning 1-0 and 2-0’. You can, believe me. No one ever wins anything with a bad defence.”

The former Arsenal man also said that the Lilywhites will be rewarded if they show faith in Mourinho.

He added: “They were going for Premier League titles and Champions Leagues for the last two or three years, so of course they are still in decline at the moment.

“But with Mourinho there, he will turn it around. He will, but they have to play his way.

“Tottenham aren’t going to be a free-flowing side. But they’ve got to trust Mourinho and have faith, because this man has won everything and they’ve won nothing.”

Spurs Web Opinion

There is no doubt that we are currently in a transitional period as Jose Mourinho’s footballing principles are quite different from Mauricio Pochettino’s. The team is having to unlearn certain ideas and learn new ones and that is a process that will take time. There have been clear signs of progress since the restart from a defensive point of view but Jose himself has acknowledged that we have not been sharp enough in the offensive third. There were some really positive signs on Sunday and I believe once our attacking players get into their stride, we will be much more deadly going forward.

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