Jose Mourinho has probably had more soundbites and quotable moments than most managers; there cannot be another manager better suited to press conferences than him. Whether it is his ‘special one’ revelation to the UK sports press; his ‘little horse’ metaphor when asked whether his Chelsea were in a three-horse race for the title; or his devious trolling of Arsene Wenger with the age-old ‘specialist in failure’, Mourinho remains the most watchable coach on screen. However, it is his more recent ‘Man City and Arsenal can take the ball home; I will take the three points’ quote that sums up his Tottenham team right now.
Of course, he was referring to the fact that Spurs had very little of the ball in either match, though won both comfortably two-nil. An English football pundit attracted much ridicule from fans after the Arsenal match with his belief that Spurs players must hate winning this way The pundit in question, Jamie Redknapp, did actually have a point. It is no fun watching Son Heung Min chasing like a wingback, or Harry Kane defending set-pieces like Ledley King; it does rankle that Dele has only made the bench once (and far too late) since the opening day defeat to Everton. However, anyone who remembers the dominance of Manchester United in the nineties will know that you cannot always play with flair. For three decades, Alex Ferguson’s team frustrated at away stadia with their robust shape and devastating counter-attack, often winning with one late goal. This is how you get titles. Of course, lately there is Liverpool’s flair and attacking domination; Man City’s aesthetically pleasing passing and pressing game that have been a joy to watch. But this is Spurs, and this is Mourinho.
There will come a point when opponents will park their own bus for Mourinho’s men to get past. This is when we will hopefully see Spurs open up and begin to take more risks; when the coach will need to believe in the ability of his attacking players. There was a long period against Crystal Palace where we struggled to keep the ball, and the midfield was crying out for Winks or Gio Lo Celso instead of Sissoko to just keep the passes on the deck. Clearly, Mourinho doesn’t trust them against bigger teams. If Liverpool do go a goal up tonight, will we see his team adapt and pull out the attacking ferocity we know they have? Let’s hope so. Nothing would make Spurs fans happier than dominating Liverpool at Anfield with a show of swashbuckling attacking play (though let’s be honest, we would be happy with a 0-0). We have the players; we have the ambition; the biggest question is will we see this team dare to do? Tonight, we find out!
Jose The Redeemer pic.twitter.com/acbvaNgN6f
— Spurs On Tap (@SpursOnTap) December 7, 2020