Tottenham column: Mourinho's sinking ship?
- Credit: PA
In what was a week to forget for Tottenham Hotspur, questions are being asked of the manager and the capabilities of his squad.
Spurs got off to a decent start after beating Championship outfit Wycombe Wanderers 4-1 on Monday night. It wasn’t the best performance. However, with the introduction of the heavyweights, the job was completed with a late flurry of goals.
Tanguy Ndombele was particularly impressive, his contributions were the difference. It was no coincidence the Spurs side had an injection of creativity when he came off the bench.
The week took a nosedive on Thursday night, as Jose Mourinho’s side hosted the defending champions, Liverpool.
The performance was well below par, especially in the second half, as the Lilywhites succumbed to a 3-1 loss. Unlike typical Mourinho sides – especially in the bigger games – Spurs were guilty of making rookie mistakes for each goal conceded.
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A first half ankle injury suffered by Harry Kane meant he didn’t make an appearance following the interval, a big miss for Tottenham. Besides Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s thunderous strike, Spurs looked out of ideas in a spiritless second half.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were winless in five Premier League games ahead of this fixture and had failed to score in their previous four.
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It was perhaps the best time for Mourinho to face such a side, yet the night suggested anything but.
Reports suggested a bust-up in the dressing room at half-time, a worrying sign for Spurs supporters as division within the squad is always dangerous when results are not going your way.
Opportunity for redemption wasn’t far away, as Tottenham faced a trip to Brighton on Sunday in the late kick-off. Graham Potter’s side were yet to register a win at home in the league all season and sat 17th in the table.
Without talisman Harry Kane it was a chance to see how reliant they were on the striker. The match provided a stark reminder of his value as they missed a focal point in attack.
A lifeless display from Spurs saw Brighton take three points, winning 1-0. The seagulls could have had more as they controlled the game and created better chances.
Mourinho persisted with the three at the back, naming a different backline yet again, and started Gareth Bale. He switched to a four in defence at half-time, but Tottenham were unable to get back into the game, even with the introduction of Carlos Vinicius up front.
In his post-match interview, Mourinho mentioned "sadness" and "low self-esteem" as factors for the performance.
Just two wins from nine since going top of the league before Christmas paint a damning picture as Spurs slide down the table.