‘Look, I’m a coach. I’m not Harry Potter. He is magical, but in reality, there is no magic. Magic is fiction and football is real.’ - Jose Mourinho
Not even eight months ago and many believed that there was a problem brewing in North London but that was partly because Arsenal were kings. Tottenham, despite all their dominance over the last three odd years, were not considered part of the equation until they turned things upside down. Even with arguably one of the best coaches in world football right now, Spurs were always considered to be the outsiders with their bigger rivals the king.
But all that changed and suddenly this summer after an interesting transfer window and maybe one of their best in recent years, things have changed in North London. Arsenal are now considered the outsiders with Tottenham inching towards the title of being called kings of North London. They’re not there yet but the appointment of the Special One has certainly weighed the scales in their favour.
However, it could be even better for Tottenham especially when you take a look at what is happening around them. Virgil van Dijk’s injury has placed Liverpool in limbo, Manchester City definitely do not look like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Chelsea are searching for their identity and Arsenal are not even close. Close to what? Close to being title challengers with Leicester City possibly our outsiders for the trophy. But as Brendan Rodgers’ proved last season, his team doesn’t have the stamina to go all the way.
Maybe things could change this year, maybe they sort out the inconsistency issues they’ve got in midfield and maybe both Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho actually score goals. But even if that does happen, the Foxes are still our maybes to the wedding party and whom does that leave? Who is left to mount a title challenge when all the real challengers are down, out or simply don’t look interested?
There is Tottenham. Lead by Harry Kane who is apparently still at his very best nearly six years after his “one season wonder show”, the Spurs superstar is killing it. He is not the only one though as nobody in the Premier League has netted more goals than Son Heung-Min. Kane also happens to have the most assists so far and yet some will say that Mourinho has spoilt him. More importantly, the former Chelsea boss has turned the tables on Tottenham and transformed them.
Sure, they’re not perfect but Tottenham have been transformed into a team actually capable of causing some real damage. Just ask Manchester United in what was a freak weekend of football; they’ll tell you the whole story. But where is this going, what kind of point is this trying to make? The point of all this is to essentially say that this could be Tottenham’s year. After years and years of calling it “their year”, this could actually be their year.
The year that Tottenham Hotspur Football Club finally win themselves a league title or a trophy in general. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? So long that many have even forgotten what it’s like to win a trophy. So long that you scroll through Tottenham’s Twitter feed for a few days, it takes a while, and there is little mention of anything glittering and silvery. That’s how long it has been with it nearly six decades since they lifted a league title and, in that time, the first tier disappeared and the Premier League was born.
It has been three and a half decades since their last European crown, nearly three decades since their last FA Cup trophy and a dozen years since that League Cup win this side of the 90s. But there is definitely something cooking at Spurs and all that something points towards is a trophy. The league title? It could be their year but even then, this team is not perfect. Sure, they’ve got a world class front line, a good midfield but it’s that defense that needs a re-jig.
Milan Skriniar would have been their Virgil van Dijk but without him, they looked error-prone and impossible to handle - even under Jose Mourinho. But then again this is Jose Mourinho, so naturally, you’d expect him to sort out his defense and thus whip the boys that he has into shape. Because while they’re not perfect, they’re malleable. Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez, Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon are not a great defense but they’re a relatively solid one.
Or at least they should be and once Mourinho instills that me vs the world mentality, he’ll have his team ready to go against any opposition that turns up. Manchester United? Sure. Arsenal? A mere cake-walk for them. A heavily armed Spartan army? They face no chance against the might of Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Jose Mourinho. But even if they don’t win a league title, there seems to be a trend for Jose Mourinho and his teams because in their second years they’ve all managed to win a trophy.
Not counting that second Chelsea spell, cause technically it was his second Chelsea spell but besides that nearly every other side have. And this, thanks to a pandemic, has effectively become year two for Jose and Spurs which is usually when everything clicks together. It did for Manchester United but they were matched up against an insane City team that finished 19 points ahead of them. But with Tottenham still in four different competitions, there is a chance that they end this season with not one but three drought ending trophies aka a Cup treble.
Don't get it wrong though, this is going to be the toughest task Jose Mourinho has ever faced in his managerial career. Ignore for a moment the teams they face, the fact that this is Tottenham and consider this, Spurs are in four different competitions. Three cups and the Premier League in a footballing year that is going to possibly be the hardest that any footballer, manager or football club has ever endured and yet there has never been a manager more suited for it than ol' Jose Mourinho.
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are great bosses in their own right but Jose, Jose knows how to get the best out of a team even when every single odd is against him and you need not look further than his Porto and Inter Milan sides. It's why this is a tailor-made season for Tottenham but more importantly, this year will allow the world to, hopefully, see the real Jose Mourinho stand up and cement his managerial legacy.
Because if they win one, it’s a legacy maker for ol' Jose and his Spurs team and not just because they're the side that ended a drought. Because they did it in year where winning was considered impossible. It’s why Daniel Levy, Tottenham, their fans, and the team all sold their soul by sacking the best manager they ever had to bring in Jose Mourinho. Well one of two reasons: the first being the hope that Mourinho instils a sense of winning into this team and the second being by actually winning something for the first time in decades.
But it automatically writes the headlines, “Spurs win trophy, next up dominating England?” Even if that’s pushing it too far, winning trophies allows them to dream of actually becoming the club their stadium has many believing they are. It allows them to get rid of that insecurity that they don’t deserve to be a part of the big boys, that niggling feeling where something just doesn’t belong and they’re the odd one out. All that?
Gone the moment Hugo Lloris saunters over and lifts something nonchalantly the way only a man winning his first “real honour” can do. But to do that, Jose Mourinho needs to curb Tottenham’s instinct to lose their mind and make stupid, silly mistakes. A thing that Tottenham have done so often that it has now been called “Spursy”. Urban Dictionary defines it as “To consistently and inevitably fail to live up to expectations. To bottle it.”
If he does that, wins them a trophy and maybe something more, then Jose Mourinho is definitely Harry Potter. But boy wizard or not, Jose has definitely cast a spell on Tottenham.