The lessons Mourinho must learn to deliver success at Tottenham

From clearing out the remaining deadwood to stopping bashing his players in the media: The lessons Mourinho must learn to bring success to Tottenham next season (that’s if you’re still here, Jose!)

  • Tottenham’s final chance of a trophy this season evaporated on Tuesday night
  • A 3-0 loss to RB Leipzig saw last season’s finalists bow out of Champions League
  • Jose Mourinho faces a big summer where he needs to give Spurs an identity
  • Sportsmail looks at the lessons the boss must learn ahead of the 2020-21 season 

As Jose Mourinho sat slumped in the dug-out in Germany on Tuesday night, it would be an understatement to say there was sure to have been a lot on his mind. 

The comprehensive 3-0 defeat to RB Leipzig – 4-0 on aggregate – ensured they will finish the season without a trophy. 

Spurs’ determination to match last season’s Champions League final appearance soon waned and they stumbled out of the FA Cup to Norwich on penalties recently. 

Jose Mourinho cut a forlorn figure as Tottenham’s last chance at a trophy ended on Tuesday

Mourinho had to console Lucas Moura coming off the pitch and he has major work to do 

Mourinho was chipper on his arrival, confident that he only needed minor tweaks to the side he inherited from Mauricio Pochettino. 

But injury has decimated his options and all of a sudden, without his superstars to call on, Mourinho has seen how limited his side are both domestically and in Europe. 

With that in mind, Sportsmail looks at six things the Portuguese simply must learn if he is to make a more successful time of it with Tottenham next season…

Be better prepared for injury BUT still clear out deadwood 

There is an element of misfortune when it comes to injuries. 

And few in Tottenham blue and white would have ever contemplated a scenario whereby long-term issues strike Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, but when that did happen, Spurs were nowhere near ready to stay afloat. 

Missing out on the Champions League – they are currently eighth, seven points off the top four – is likely to affect his summer budget but Mourinho needs to address areas where depth is a major concern. 

Injury to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (pictured) exposed Spurs’ lack of attacking depth

Pochettino’s decision to let Fernando Llorente was brought into question when Kane and Son were struck down and with little responsibility placed on the shoulders of young Troy Parrott, getting another No 9 is nothing short of essential.  

But at the same time, Mourinho needs to continue clearing out the deadwood, much as he has been doing. 

Christian Eriksen was sold to Inter Milan, Victor Wanyama went to join Montreal Impact, Danny Rose is now at Newcastle, Kyle Walker-Peters looks surplus to requirements and others are likely to follow. 

Jan Vertonghen, a stalwart for Tottenham since joining in 2012 from Ajax, looks to be past his best, as does Juan Foyth, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld. 

The latter two were shown up in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to RB Leipzig and while Mourinho will not be able to rip up this squad in one window, expect a revolving door-style transfer window if the Portuguese boss gets his way.  

Danny Rose (left) and Kyle Walker-Peters are already surplus to requirements for Mourinho

Media-bashing players won’t work… it needs to stop 

Attacking Tanguy Ndombele was disappointing but not surprising. If anything, it was classic Mourinho. He claims it is to help the player but this kind of tactic feels less and less helpful.  

While his public dressing downs may have worked in the past, it tunes the current stars out and he needs to cut this out next season in a bid to rid the negative narrative. 

‘We didn’t have a midfield in the first half,’ Mourinho fumed after a draw at Burnley recently.

‘I think more important than the tactics is to have midfield players who want the ball, to connect the game, to have them press and recover the ball. To have midfield players to win duels. We didn’t have it.

Jose Mourinho was left furious with Tanguy Ndombele’s performance away against Burnley 

‘Of course I am not speaking about (Oliver) Skipp, he is a kid of 19 who played two hours of football a few days ago. I am not critical with Skipp (who was also replaced at half-time) at all. 

‘I am not going to run away. I have to say Tanguy has had enough time to come to a different level. I know the Premier League is very difficult, I know that some players take a long time.

‘But a player with his potential, his responsibility, he has to give us more. And especially when you see the way Lo Celso played, every minute I was expecting more in the first half.’

Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw were on the receiving end of his barbs at Manchester United and Eden Hazard felt the brunt of it during his second spell at Chelsea. 

What must Daniel Levy be thinking when he sees his manager call out the club’s record signing? It is a bad look and when rivals Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola successfully keep their grievances in-house, it is time Mourinho changed his ways.  

Ndombele has had a tough start to life in north London after joining for £65m in the summer 

Give this club an identity… players lack ideas 

In the aftermath of the debacle in Leipzig, Lloris, who had endured a poor game, pulled no punches.  

‘We lack a few ideas on the pitch,’ the French goalkeeper said. 

‘The solution was to score goals. But we could have played all evening… We were already having trouble creating scoring chances, scoring situations. It’s hard, but you have to accept it.’

And, Lloris was right. But the bigger story is that right now, under Mourinho, this current incarnation of Tottenham lack a clear identity. 

Negative, defensive-first football is the tag often associated with Mourinho teams but it was the defending that was so alarming in the two games against Leipzig.  

It could be argued Mourinho does not have the players he needs – or wants – having arrived mid-season but with a full summer and pre-season to get his philosophy across, Tottenham, for good and bad, need to have a style cemented for 2020-21. 

Mourinho needs to get his ideas across so his Spurs side actually possesses a style and identity

Too easy to beat Spurs in their own backyard 

Mourinho started strongly but there have been performances of late that suggest it is becoming too easy to turn Spurs over at their own stadium.

Defeats to Chelsea, Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Wolves and Norwich – the latter came on penalties in the cup, admittedly – were blunt displays where Tottenham looked off the pace and devoid of ideas in attack. 

Part of that is the injury situation, part is the lack of identity but home form is going to be key for Tottenham if they are to get back in the top four and push on to challenge the top order. 

There is little to no fear-factor when sides make the trip to north London. In his first spell at Chelsea, no side looked forward to a trip to Stamford Bridge. That is what Mourinho needs to work to create. 

While that seems some way off, Tottenham need to show more of the zip and intensity that helped them beat Manchester City 2-0 in north London last month. 

If they become known as a side with a soft underbelly at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Mourinho’s reign could get worse before it gets better.  

Tottenham need to create an atmosphere of intimidation for teams coming to north London

Keeping hold of Harry Kane is essential 

If this recent slump has shown anything it is that Tottenham cannot do without Harry Kane. 

An argument could be made to cash-in on the England striker this summer to help fund a major squad overhaul, but we saw what Spurs invested the money in when Gareth Bale went to Madrid. In short: not a lot of quality. 

Kane would be of interest to each and every one of Europe’s elite teams and his presence, as well as his goals, would be incredibly difficult to replace. 

He is a leader on the pitch, gives confidence to team-mates and improves those around him. 

While it may be tempting if a £100m-plus over arrives this summer, Mourinho may be wise to get Kane fit and build a new-look side around him.  

Harry Kane is the jewel in Tottenham’s crown and a new-look side should be built around him

A trophy is vital… he needs to breed a winning mentality 

The Champions League final was the one where it almost happened. Mauricio Pochettino’s claims that smaller domestic trophies were not as important to him looked to have been vindicated before Spurs fell flat come the European final. 

Not since winning the League Cup in 2008 have Tottenham fans toasted trophy success and for Mourinho, a manager determined to lift silverware by any means necessary, needs to continue his pattern of success.  

He is all about trophies, it is why he held three fingers up to Chelsea fans after being goaded while Manchester United boss, it is why he cups his ear when he is booed or why he brings up his career honours unprovoked in a press conference. 

Few in this Spurs squad have shown a winners’ mentality, a mentality that suggests the heart of a champion and so next season’s Carabao Cup, however much it is derided by outsiders, will be very interesting for Mourinho. 

It is the first trophy available to win in the English football season and one Mourinho has focused heavily on in the past. Colchester eliminated Spurs before he arrived to replace Pochettino but a deep run, and ending with the trophy at Wembley, would help accelerate Mourinho’s rebuild.  

FA Cup agony to Norwich was another missed opportunity for Tottenham to push for a trophy

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