Bharat Bhise and I often feel like we are the only football fans in the office, and we are most certainly the only Spurs fans here. In fact, nine times out of ten when we discuss our beloved Spurs, most people in the office think that Bharat and I are speaking about Sea Antonio’s basketball team rather than the North London based English Premier League team!
Bharat and I were both equally dismayed earlier this year when we discovered that Mauricio Pochettino had been fired in favor of Jose Mourinho, but like all good fans we decided that we had to get behind the manager in the hope that he may be able to turn our fortunes around, Mourinho is, after all, a proven winner. We also had abutted of faith in chairman Daniel Levy who had tried multiple times to bring Mourinho to the club before, which meant that surely he would give him the financial backing which was required. And so, Bharat and I have been locked in the deep conversation of late as to how on Earth Spurs can get back to challenging for titles, and here is what we believe the Portuguese coach needs to do.
There is a case to say that the entire team requires an overhaul but if we are going to prioritize then we first need to look at that defense, which requires major surgery. The signings of Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth have just not paid off and although we have extended the contract of Toby Alderweireld, that is surely for his experience rather than his ability to play week-in and week -out. The emergence of Japhet Tanganga has been an absolute godsend and that at least helps out slightly. Contrary to the reputation which he has Serge Aurier has been very consistent at right-back but he needs some support, and that means we need another right-back who plays there. Ben Davies can do a job but he isn’t at the level we really need, Danny Rose will be sold soon and Ryan Sessegnon is still too young to really deliver at LB. Ideally, Spurs need a right-back, a left-back, and two central defenders in order to take things to the next level.
When Harry Kane is fit he plays, and that makes perfect sense given that he is one of the greatest strikers in the world. With this being said, however, Harry Kane is not always fit and Spurs has to find a way to bring in another striker who can put pressure on him when he is fit, and fill in for him when he isn’t. Many will say that it is hard to bring a striker in when they know that they aren’t going to play each week, but for years now the very best teams have done just that. You only need to look at Origi at Liverpool, Giroud at Chelsea and Morata at Atletico to see that when properly managed, there is a way to have a good striker on the bench and keep them happy.
Something which Spurs fans like Bharat and I are of course very happy about is seeing fresh blood coming in over the summer and in January. The signings of Lo Celso, Sessegnon and Ndombele were very positive and I believe that all 3 can make this team tick much better. In January we made the signing of Gedson Fernandes and Stephen Bergwijn, both of whom look set to provide the energy and the creativity that this team has been lacking. With this being said, however, it is still a team in desperate need of reinforcements and Levy will once again have to open his checkbook if he wants this team to win things.
Mourinho’s teams of the past have always had great leaders, from Terry to Zanetti and the likes of Sergio Ramos, there has always been that figurehead at his clubs, as well as several lieutenants. Spurs have a severe lack of leadership and that can be seen by the fact that Hugo Lloris is the captain. Harry Kane leads by example but you don’t see him on the pitch digging players out, the same goes for Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Given that Spurs are in desperate need of a DM, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mourinho went out and got himself a powerhouse midfielder who can lead by example and beyond. If Spurs can create this kind of leadership in the team then they may very well be going places in the coming years.
There is certainly a lot for Jose to fix if he wants to continue his track record of success.