Mourinho is here. These players are here. We need to stop comparing everything to something that has gone, start looking forwards to something that might yet come.
I’m neither Jose-in nor Jose-out. I’m neither Levy-in nor Levy-out. Like some sort of Spurs-version of the Hokey Cokey, I’m all of these. I just want Jose to do his best, I want Levy to do his best, I want the players to do their best. If they’re all doing that, then let the cards fall where they may – ra ra ra.
There’s clearly an agenda against Mourinho. And it can’t be denied that historically the man has stood for everything we oppose (the clubs he’s managed and the things he’s said in particular) in his pursuit of glory. But do I loathe him for that? If anything surely, it’s worthy of respect. He is the only consistent thing about Spurs right now.
His style of play is unattractive, but we knew that. He has no trouble freezing players out or making examples, but we knew that too. He’s extremely hard to please and yet fiercely loyal.
And Levy, of course he’s made mistakes, but he’s also made an absolute deluge of good decisions too. People just want to latch on to every misstep and ignore every stride forward.
The players? Well, I’m struggling to think of a more hard-working, together and ultimately professional and likeable team than the one that Poch/Jose have built in recent Spurs history. We’ve always loved ‘a player’, but not whole teams (although again *agenda klaxon*).
So what am I saying here? If we run with the idea that everyone is trying their best (revolutionary thought, I know) then why does it feel like Spurs are never more than one matchday away from sitting under a heavy, dark cloud. Disappointing results I understand, but rarely did we feel this way under Poch, and we rolled with him with the same approach, ‘everyone’s trying their best, these things just happen.’
Yet we do not afford the same luxury to Mourinho. Why? Because we dislike the football we knew was coming or the way he treats players that we knew was coming or because of his history that we always knew about?
Could it possibly be that the reason I’m finding it harder to engage with Spurs is actually due to the actions of…us?
It just feels like there’s always something to complain about win/lose or draw. Whether it’s the team or the formation or the approach. If someone makes a mistake or slips or misreads a tackle or a header or a shot or a freekick. It’s absolutely exhausting.
And because we’re all watching it on the tele, ingesting every piece of football there is because there is simply nothing else to do, this constant critique is amplified so much more.
I don’t understand it. I don’t see what else there is left to complain about. The best stadium. The best team we have had in at least 35 years. Arguably the greatest manager of the modern era. And yet we are permanently ready to pounce on any problem quicker than Marcus Rashford can on inequality (notable mention, what a geezer).
Spurs are the only ‘big’ side that has to work twice as hard to get half as far as anyone else. Woolwich can have a decade in the wilderness and still smash up 4, FOUR FA Cup Finals. Man United can have a ‘decline’ but still take home a Europa League. Chelsea can literally hire anybody and almost stumble into silverware.
Yet for Spurs, the stars have to be in some sort of alignment, and a witch has to sacrifice a baby or something whilst simultaneously blessing a strand of Harry Kane’s hair for us to even snatch an equaliser away at Bournemouth.
We were the hardest working team under Poch, and have 1 League Cup final to show for it. The effort did not match the tangible reward. My god we played some good football, and we loved Poch for that, but we all wanted silverware. So we appointed the golden goose and already a League Cup final is secured. Mourinho’s aura and ethos will help us bridge that metaphysical gap between what you deserve and what you actually get.
The football is hard to watch in parts, but only because Spurs don’t take enough match-defining chances. It’s something we just can’t seem to do consistently. Mourinho’s tactics work like a well-oiled machine if every key counter is made to pay – the ones where we’re under pressure or the opposition are leggy, or the belief is starting to diminish.
Mourinho’s tactics are art if these pay, cubist art maybe, but definitely art.
Fulham. We should’ve cleaned house. The post. The header. 3-1 and we’re laughing. Newcastle at home. Any number of chances. The ‘pen’. Liverpool. Stevie, oh Stevie. Key chances, big moments. Game-changers.
That’s 7 extra points right there and we’re league leaders. Obviously Stevie didn’t want to miss against Liverpool, obviously Son didn’t want to clip the post against Fulham. Everyone is trying to do their best. And yet we are so quick to jump on a back, especially Mourinho’s.
Maybe if we just tried to enjoy the ride a bit more, we’ll enjoy Spurs a bit more. Criticism is fine, welcome even, but the incessant moaning, the pre-prepared monologues of monotony, the negative takes. Christ. Could we learn to afford multiple-title winner Mourinho, or this hugely likeable Spurs side, a smidgen of the huge leeway we gave trophy-less Poch and his endlessly pressing men? It’s basically the same players!
Mourinho is here. These players are here. We need to stop comparing everything to something that has gone, start looking forward to something that might yet come. These years will be viewed as watershed for Spurs – and who wants to admit they spent it with their back to the TV and complaining?
No one enjoys the motorway drive or the airport wait, but everyone loves the holiday.
Chin up, you Spurs.
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