Before all the sacking and the crowning, the fans, players and staff were walking about with thoughts of a bleak and turbulent season. Then Daniel makes a monumental decision to end Pochettino’s reign and bring in the “humbled” one. That decision had an immediate effect.
As it was announced that Pochettino had left the building, the supporters were stunned and took to social media to voice their thoughts. But who next? To be honest, none of us, who were closer to the centre, were that surprised. Things had been brewing for a couple of months now. It was in the air. After the new stadium and the building of a unique team we needed somebody of a high profile, and you can’t get any higher profile than José Mourinho
Once everything had settled down, and we could start to see clearer we then only had to wait a few days for our first match. The victims for that game were the Ironmongers. Those that forsook their old structure for a Meccano set (where Mourinho was unveiled).
So; to the special one.
Having lost his first ever competitive game as manager, with Benfica in September 2000, Mourinho has gone unbeaten in his first game in charge at each of his eight clubs since, including two different spells with Chelsea (W5 D3). He had won as many points in this game as Mauricio Pochettino mustered in his final 12 away Premier League games with Tottenham (W0 D3 L9).
To the game:
Our Harry Kane has scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League games against West Ham. Indeed, Kane has scored 29 goals in 46 Premier League London derbies – only Thierry Henry (43), Teddy Sheringham (32) and Frank Lampard (32) have netted more.
Kane has now scored 175 goals in 269 appearances for Tottenham – only Jimmy Greaves (266) and Bobby Smith (208) have netted more.
Son Heung-min (19) is our leading goalscorer in all competitions in 2019, netting one more than Kane (18) this calendar year.
In the build-up to the game, Mourinho indicated there would be no massive changes to a side that, for the first five years of Pochettino’s reign, have been used to challenging for honours, even though the team had never actually won anything.
Mourinho’s first in-match conversation with Son was to remind the South Korean of players behind him who needed marking, evidently, his strength is going forward. His shot for Tottenham’s opener was fierce. It flashed past the West Ham keeper for him to make a more passable attempt to keep it out.
It was Son’s raw pace that allowed him to advance forward into open space and cross for Moura to covert the visitors’ second. His new boss greeted the opener with a triumphant punch towards the ground. His reaction to the second was far more businesslike, screaming at his players, then shouting at Toby Alderweireld when he was ignored, to deliver an instruction to do with team shape.
Kane’s 11th Spurs goal of the season came a minute after Moura had fluffed a chance to finish off a length-of-the-field break. That was the end of the goal rush, but Mourinho kept shouting instructions, the whistle went to loud cheers from our Supporters. The first game in charge was over.
Mourinho’s first-team selection was followed by his first warning, to midfielder Christian Eriksen, who he left on the bench. If you don’t want to sign, it was allegedly reported Mourinho had said, then there would be more arse on bench moments for him. Mourinho has never been one for accepting passengers on his managerial journey, and evidently, he is not about to start now (and nor should he).
Of course, Eriksen is not on his own in having an uncertain future. Alderweireld, who gave an assured performance here, and Jan Vertonghen are out of contract at the end of the season. Danny Rose has a deal which runs to 2021, but the England man has already said the chances of him signing an extension are zero.
However, Eriksen’s introduction for Dele Alli 13 minutes from time underlines he has not been excluded from Mourinho’s thoughts. But how Mourinho deals with that situation may prove pivotal in whether Tottenham scramble back into the fight for a Champions League place or linger in mid-table for the rest of the campaign.
When a new manager comes along, he can revitalise a team where the previous occupant couldn’t or had let things slip. In the case of Mourinho, we have more than a new manager, but a man who has a wealth of experience and has won trophies for every club he has managed (yes, even United… three). And that has been something we have been lacking for many years (Cups).
I’ve also noticed, as you no doubt have, that Mourinho seems more relaxed and happy, which will all play a part in bringing us closer to that magic tree of silverware. We’ve been a sleeping giant for many years, and the building of our fabulous new stadium was the first chapter in bringing us into line with the Gods of football. Harry Redknapp and Pochettino played an essential part in changing the players around and into the direction of Glory, now the magic one has arrived things are looking much more auspicious.
Of course, the cynics will say that I am just pissing in the wind, but I would rather say that I see the glass half full of cream, rather than half empty with p*ss.
Whatever the future holds, it must always be wishful; certainty is only death and taxes.
It has been a pleasure, as always,
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