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Jose Mourinho's recasting as yesterday's man has been brutal and unforgiving

Kevin Palmer


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Jose Mourinho’s Spurs exited the Champions League on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs exited the Champions League on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs exited the Champions League on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

From king of world football to yesterday’s man, Jose Mourinho's recasting has been brutal and unforgiving.

As one of the most successful managers in the history of the game looked on as his depleted Tottenham side crashed out of the Champions League in predictably limp fashion against Red Bull Leipzig last week (yes that was only last week), we witnessed an image that was unimaginable when he was at the peak of his powers.

Turning to his youthful assistant Joao Sacramento, Mourinho was forced to accept the reality that he had run out of cards to play in a season that had long since fallen off the rails.

Mourinho was seen to shrug his shoulders as he gesticulated towards the pitch as if to concede this puzzle had too many missing pieces for him to solve.

This was a manager who had pressed all the buttons on his remote control only to find that none of them worked, even after he changed the batteries.

He has tried to play with three at the back at Tottenham, he has shaken up his defensive line time and again, trialed different midfield combinations and thrown his club-record signing under the bus with public criticism that he hoped to fire him into life.

All of it has been to no avail and yet we are no longer surprised.

Mourinho, it seems, is a busted flush and in the opinion of Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle, Tottenham may have recruited one of the game's true winners at the wrong moment in his career.

"If you were looking to hire anyone to bring trophies to the club, there would be no better man than Jose Mourinho and yet suddenly he has questions to answer," Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle said.

"His record at every club he has been at has been sensational. The one criticism of Pochettino was that he didn't win any silverware and to be fair to the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, he has gone and got the most successful silverware collector of them all with his latest manager.

"Will it work? It remains to be seen. You are putting the best jockey on the horse and hoping it might win the Derby. That isn't always how sport works, but I can see why Spurs have gone down this road.

"Tottenham were good enough to win trophies a year or so ago, but I'm not sure that is still the case any more.

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Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham last November (Adam Davy/PA)

Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham last November (Adam Davy/PA)

Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham last November (Adam Davy/PA)

"The side Mauricio Pochettino put together were competing with all the top sides and could and probably should have won something, but it just didn't happen for them.

"Now Mourinho has come in and while it didn't seem like a natural fit for Spurs in many ways, we had to wait and see what was going to happen and whether he could win the club trophies, as he has done on every step of his career.

"From what we have seen from him so far, that looks very doubtful and while the problems at Tottenham were in evidence long before he arrived, it looks like he is struggling to find any answers to them and that is surprising given his record and all that he has achieved in the game."

As we saw in his final, painful days as Chelsea and Manchester United manager, the methods that used to produce results for the angry agitator no longer have the same impact on or off the pitch, with this former champion seemingly on the end of a few too many knock-out blows to mount another comeback.

Spurs are broken and while Mourinho cannot be blamed for deep-rooted problems that started to eat at their core long before he replaced Mauricio Pochettino as the club's manager last November, the tactician who once had the answer to every problem is finally stumped.

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Harry Kane is currently injured (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harry Kane is currently injured (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harry Kane is currently injured (Martin Rickett/PA)

He has tried to use injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min as an excuse for his failure, yet the Mourinho of old would have found a way to get his team through a tough patch by fair or foul means.

From his breakthrough moment as he won the Champions League with FC Porto back in 2004 to the remarkable success he inspired in his first spell at Chelsea and his second win in Europe's elite competition with Inter Milan in 2010, Mourinho was the master of finding ways to win when all the odds were stacked against him.

This was the ultimate party-pooper who revelled in the role of bad guy as the game's biggest names fell under his spell, with Mourinho masterclasses part of a European football landscape for a decade and more.

Love him or hate him, it was impossible not to have a grudging respect for Mourinho's success, but the flame that used to burn so brightly inside him appears to have been extinguished in the last five years.

His glory days have started to become distant memories, with his dominant Premier League title triumph with Chelsea five years ago the last time this serial winner suggested he still had all the answers.

We had the fleeting moments when he led Manchester United to a League Cup and Europa League triumph in 2017, but they were only consolation prizes for a coach that used to ridicule those who toasted success in what he considers to be second-string competitions.

This unscheduled late-season break may, in fact, work in Mourinho's favour if the Premier League hugely ambitious early April return date is to be met as by then, Kane and Son likely to be close to a return for what may be a final nine games of this troubled campaign.

Yet the danger must be that the presence of those two star names in his line-up will merely cement the suspicion that this once great manager is past his sell-by date.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy hired Mourinho in the hope that he could produce miracles to match those of his predecessor, yet all the evidence of the last 18 months suggests the manager who has claimed four more trophies on his own that Spurs have won in their entire history has run out of the magic dust he used to have in abundance.

DID YOU KNOW: Jose Mourinho is currently in the midst of his worst run as a manager, as he has failed to win any of his last six matches with Tottenham.

JOSE MOURINHO RECORD

Complete record - P: 935, W: 600, D: 192, L: 143

FC Porto (2002-04)

Portuguese title 2003, 2004

Portuguese Cup: 2003

UEFA Cup: 2003

Champions League: 2004

Chelsea (2004-07 & 2013-2015)

Premier League 2005, 2006, 2015

FA Cup: 2007

League Cup: 2005, 2007, 2015

Inter Milan (2008-2010)

Serie A title: 2009, 2010

Copa Italia: 2010

Champions League 2010

Real Madrid (2010-13)

Spanish title: 2012

Spanish Cup: 2011

Manchester United (2016-2018)

League Cup 2017

Europa League 2017

TOTAL TROPHIES: 20

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