When Jose Mourinho was asked after Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham on Sunday whether he was doubting his own methods in light of recent results, the Spurs boss insisted that he is second to no other coach in the world.
However, if a report in The Athletic is to be believed, that is not a sentiment shared by some players in the Tottenham dressing room, who believe the training sessions are too defensive and too focussed on the opposition.
The report claims that, although Mourinho has not lost the Tottenham dressing room yet, multiple sources are unhappy with his approach.
Some of Tottenham’s attacking players are said to be displeased with how much emphasis there is on the defensive side of the game and avoiding mistakes, while little of the preparation is focussed on attacking patterns of play.
Some players are said to have remarked that there is an increasing atmosphere of fear among the squad of making mistakes.
The article even quotes one dressing room source as saying there is a difference between Mauricio Pochettino’s methods and Mourinho’s: “Everything has changed, even the training is so defensively minded now.
“There is no plan to move the ball forward. The plan is to defend, boot the ball up to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and that’s it.”
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While this report is certainly revealing of the atmosphere within at least some elements of the Spurs dressing room, the risk with taking this at face value is that these ‘sources’ might well have come from players who are not in favour under Mourinho.
We all know that Mourinho’s philosophy is a lot different from Pochettino’s and that the Portuguese coach sets up training sessions based on the actual match scenarios that the players are likely to face. That has brought him a lot of success in his career and it is understandable why Mourinho does not move away from that too much.
While there is a case to be made that his methods are not as effective as they once were, we also have to acknowledge that Mourinho has opted for a more attacking approach for the past few weeks, only for individual errors at the back to let the team down.
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