What Went Wrong With Tottenham and How it Can be Fixed
To the sorrow of Tottenham fans, they are, in fact, strangers to silverware. Two years ago, they were in the finals of the Champions League against Liverpool. And now, they are set to participate in the first-ever Europa Conference League. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t match the standard that is set for the club.
The Peak: 18/19
Spurs ‘qualification was ultimately surprising, having beaten Manchester City and Ajax on their way to the 19/20 finals. Mauricio Pochettino led the club into their first-ever Champions League final against Liverpool. Although they weren’t given the best odds, the team had quality players to start. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Heung-min Son, and Hugo Lloris made up the star power in the lineup. But to the Argentinian’s misfortune, he was defeated by Jürgen Klopp’s team 2-0.
The Sacking of Pochettino and Mourinho’s Appointment
After the club reached its highest point, Pochettino was sacked by the board. Despite building up a squad full of youngsters, the club no longer saw a future with Pochettino. They followed this up by appointing the most unlikely replacement for him, Jose Mourinho.
The Special One had previously managed their London rivals, Chelsea and Manchester United. And that is why his joining Spurs was met with so many raised eyebrows.
Tottenham had a reputation for being inactive and unwilling to spend in the transfer market. Adding that to Pochettino’s spell at the club makes it that much more impressive. But that changed as Mourinho was appointed to the bench at London, this time managing the boys in white.
Despite having a proven winner at the helm of the standard of Mourinho, the club was unable to qualify for the Champions League. Inconsistencies plagued the club, and they were often overcome by smaller opposition. The squad was deemed indisciplined by Mourinho, and he had a tough time getting the team to perform at their best. Injuries to star forward Harry Kane also made things more difficult for him during his first season.
Mourinho in 20/21
The summer transfer window of 2020 saw Tottenham reverse its stance about the transfer window. They invested quite a bit of money last summer, signing Matt Doherty from Wolves, to begin with. Southampton captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also joined the club. That was followed up by the arrival of Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid. And to cap it all off for the fans, Gareth Bale returned on loan to the club from Madrid alongside Reguilon.
Tottenham started their 20/21 campaign by putting up an outstanding run of form. The newfound partnership between Kane and Son yielded numerous goals every game. And at one point in the season, they were at the top of the Premier League table. Mourinho had successfully implemented his counter-attacking mindset at the club. Kane and Son’s attacking output proved the Portuguese’s success.
To the delight of the fans, their club was finally being linked as a viable Premier League contender. Their rivals in the big six struggled, with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea dropping form. Mourinho found sweet revenge against his previous employers, Manchester United. His Tottenham team beat United 6-1 at the Old Trafford, at the peak of their season.
And things started going wrong for them shortly after, as they showed defensive inconsistencies in their game. Gareth Bale had spent most of his return spell injured, and the attack lacked results without Kane. The tension reached a boiling point as they bottled a 2-0 lead in the knockout stages of the Europa League against Dynamo Kyiv. Spurs faltered in the Premier League and looked heavily uninspired on the pitch.
Despite reaching the finals of the Carabao Cup, Mourinho was sacked six days before the big match. Academy graduate Ryan Mason took charge of the club, and they finished in 7th place in the league.
What Tottenham Need to Ensure Going Forward
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The main difficulty that the team faces at this point is their lack of direction in the first team. And that can be attributed to the fact that they currently lack a first-team manager. Paulo Foncesca has been heavily rumored as a target and could join the club in the weeks to come. Should that happen, it would complete an indirect swap deal as Mourinho joined his former employer, Roma.
To make things worse, Harry Kane has also asked to leave this summer. The England captain aims to win trophies, and London seemingly isn’t the place for that to happen.
Tottenham pulled off the best possible transfer in the form of the appointment of a sporting director after six years. And they recruited the best man in Italy for the last ten years, Fabio Paratici. He previously worked with Juventus and cemented his status as the best sporting director in the country. Foncesca is being pursued on his demand.
Given Paratici’s remarkable work with Juventus, it is safe to say that he knows how to build a team. And that is exactly what the club needs right now. Foncesca’s style of play with Shakhtar in the past shows that he fits the bill perfectly. His brand of dynamic, possession-based football will bring a breath of fresh air to the fans and the players.
What Spurs need to do going forward is to back the sporting director and the manager. They also need to try and keep Harry Kane since he is undoubtedly their most valuable asset. He proved that in 20/21 by winning the Golden Boot and the Playmaker Award together. This led to him becoming the single best player in the Premier League.
Spurs’ imitation of their cutthroat rivals Chelsea by swapping managers per season has left them precarious. There is no stability at the moment, but that can be changed with clear direction. With Fabio Paratici as the sporting director, that can be achieved over the next few months, starting with the arrival of Foncesca.
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