By the time British media reported on Tuesday night of “advanced negotiations” between Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho, the deal had in fact long since disappeared.
Spurs manager Daniel Levy made contact with the Portuguese a few weeks ago when the end of Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure seemed inevitable, according to sources close to the club. The team had become anxiously ill, and the relationship between Levy and the Argentine was also only at Ancano’s temperature level. Pochettino could not forgive the club boss for not going ahead with the promised rebuilding of the team in the summer.
Too little fresh energy had come to successfully implement Pochettino’s lavish pressure play in his sixth year, leaving too many changeable, older players. “Poch” had complained at the end of September of “contradictory ideas in the team”. After the 2-7 home defeat in the Champions League against FC Bayern, even the biggest optimists realized that this relationship had no future. Only disagreements over Pochettino’s severance pay and the final details with his successor delayed his ejection.
Pochettino should not be a problem in Munich
Insiders do not rule out the exclusion that Pochettino finally caused his departure in order to put himself in position in time for new tasks. He will be a major topic at Real Madrid and Manchester United in the coming weeks, perhaps also in Munich, where he was on the list of candidates before Niko Kovac’s appointment in the summer of 2018. However, there were and still are reservations about the team’s confidence in a non-German coach and half a dozen assistant coaches. Pochettino’s ball-hunting tactics and notoriously hard conditioning training, apart from that, are rather poorly related to Oliver Kahn’s recent primacy of football combined with the German record holder.
Aux Spurs (14th place in the table, 11 points behind in fourth place) in the current constitution, on the other hand, only the results count. Pochettino’s overly successful work, with four consecutive Premier League appearances, has not been able to change the basic dilemma of the financially managed club with caution: in order to employ a Champions League-level team, Tottenham must play in the Champions League. Levy could no longer bear the appalling decline. Mourinho’s commitment amounted to a defence.
No project trainer, rather the species killer
We could also talk about a leap. At first glance, the election seems very special. The 56-year-old is known for favouring more experienced players and publicly demanding costly reinforcements at each transfer period. Tottenham, however, have been relying on kickers of their own youth for years and are the least invested by all the best English clubs year after year. The salary level in 2017/2018 was exactly half of the 345 million euros paid to the workforce by the former Club of Mourinho Manchester United.
As coach for the necessary upheaval at Spurs, Setobal’s self-promoter doesn’t seem exactly predestined either. Since his breakthrough at FC Porto in 2002, he has worked without exception in clubs that were either at the top of the food chain in their leagues or had a well-founded claim to domination. He is not a project trainer, plus the cash contract killer. Mourinho does his job in an emotionally cool way, often leaving his clubs devastated. His methods, which are based on error prevention, the joy of conflict and strong psychological pressure, are used even with the best addresses after two seasons at the latest.
So you have to have the idea of hiring the passionate arsonist as a firefighter. But there is no shortage of logic: with Mourinho also strives to restore his own reputation, a little “energy and faith” (Levy) is likely to return to the Eleven. At least in the short term.