Tottenham may be four Premier League games without a win and eight points off the Champions League qualifying spots, but Spurs boss Jose Mourinho will go on to be a success at the club, says Sunday Supplement guest Neil Custis.
After an early upturn in results and performances following his appointment in November, Mourinho’s side have struggled in recent weeks, with injury to star striker Harry Kane adding to their problems.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Watford was a missed opportunity to close the gap on the top four but The Sun football writer Custis says Mourinho will eventually turn the club’s fortunes around, after an, at times, difficult final year under former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
“Tottenham have played wonderful football for 30 years but didn’t win an away game for 12 months and stank the place out in the Champions League final against Liverpool,” said Custis.
“I think Spurs will be better with Jose than what Pochettino did in the last 12 months of his job. [Pochettino’s] been heralded as the greatest manager ever without ever winning anything. Jose will do a very good job there.”
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Mourinho has been critical of some of his Spurs players in the press but Custis insists the Portuguese boss is simply trying to set the highest standards for his squad to take them to where they want to go.
“We’re talking about the best coach in the world over the last decade,” said Custis. “Just look at his achievements.
“Certain people have certain things stuck in their head about Jose Mourinho; he’s miserable, he falls out with people, he’s this, he’s that. Sir Alex Ferguson fell out with people, David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane…
“Jose is always trying to make a club better, like when calling out Paul Pogba to try and get him to produce performances like he does for France. He got slated for that.
“We complain in the media about managers not being open but then when you get a manager who is honest about players, everyone goes: ‘oh you can’t say that, you can’t criticise the players, poor lambs’ – how does a player react to that? Does he think it’s terrible and he wants to move away or does he say, ‘I’ll show him’ – and those sort of players are the ones you want in your squad.”
However, Rob Harris, the global sports correspondent for Associated Press, suggested that aspects Mourinho has been criticised for in the past are colouring the work he is doing at Spurs.
“There’s an irritation at Spurs that Jose is being judged on his past jobs and his past issues at clubs, rather than being able to start on a clean slate,” he said.
“But you can see a few of the old Mourinho traits carrying into his time at Spurs, questioning some players fitness like Tanguy Ndombele and it’s quite curious about Danny Rose, when he was questioned about why he’s not in the team.
“There has been some grumbling in recent weeks. Not outbursts or rants in any way.
“Why is he not deploying a young striker like Troy Parrott – he seems to be sending out a message that he needs a No 9. Of course, he couldn’t predict the Kane injury but could he have managed the situation better in terms of his game-time and how much rest he needed?
“If Chelsea had won on Saturday then Spurs would have been exactly the same number of points away from Chelsea as when Pochettino was sacked. We’ve not seen considerable progress, but he’s not been there that long in order to put his stamp on the club.”
Sam Wallace, the chief football writer at The Telegraph, believes Mourinho is currently lacking the players to play in the way he would like at Tottenham.
“I think he’s being much more positive, trying to put a more positive spin on things,” said Wallace. “But I think he thought from a distance that Spurs’ squad was more suitable than it is to the way he wants to play.