Home » “The two managers’ second-half substitutions spoke volumes” Mourinho magic is fading claims journalist
“The two managers’ second-half substitutions spoke volumes” Mourinho magic is fading claims journalist
By Bruce Grove -

Tottenham suffered a major setback in their bid to make the top four this season after losing 3-1 to Manchester United today.

Spurs went into the game needing a win to help them push for a Champions League spot.

However, they ended the encounter further behind in the top four race and the Special One is now under even more pressure.

Tottenham had beaten United 6-1 in the reverse fixture and it was one of the results which helped Spurs to top the league table late last year.

Since the turn of the year, they have been on the decline and this game shows that there is more work to be done than we all thought.

However, Standard Sports’ Dan Kilpatrick watched the game and thinks that Mourinho is to blame for the loss.

He even reckons that the Special One’s power is fading, considering his substitutions.

With the game finely poised at 1-1, Mourinho chose to become conservative with his changes and it backfired with United scoring two more goals.

Kilpatrick thinks it shows the difference between both managers and wrote: “The two managers’ second-half substitutions spoke volumes about their differing mentalities and ultimately underlined why many believe Mourinho’s magic has faded for good.

“After Fred’s close-range equaliser made it 1-1, the game was finely poised, with United having the lion’s share of possession but Spurs continuing to look threatening on the counter-attack.

“United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acted decisively, sending on Greenwood for Marcus Rashford.

“Mourinho, meanwhile, opted for conservative changes, introducing Moussa Sissoko for Giovani Lo Celso and then Erik Lamela for Tanguy Ndombele, ignoring four-time Champions League winner Gareth Bale, Dele Alli and second-striker Carlos Vinicius who all remained on the bench.

“Solskjaer’s decisiveness was rewarded when Greenwood crossed for Cavani to plant a diving header beyond Hugo Lloris at the far post and the teenager wrapped up the win with a fine third in stoppage-time.

“Mourinho, meanwhile, only called for Bale after United’s second goal. It was too little, too late.

“Once again, the Spurs manager was ruled by fear and failed to push his side forward and exploit a United team who looked there for the taking at times.”

Tags Dan KIlpatrick Jose Mourinho NewsNow Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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[…] MORE: Jose Mourinho’s “magic is fading” […]

Cabspur
Cabspur
2 months ago

I’ve had enough of the circus that Maureen brings ,it’s bad enough having levy who at least is silent.
He split the fans from the start and now has split the dressing room .
I’m just sick of talking about the manager all the time ,is it fooking normal?
Most other managers go under the Rader ,it’s just boring like the football we play.
He probably could do a job somewhere ,,with levy it won’t be here.
End the circus pls.

Cabspur
Cabspur
2 months ago
Reply to  Cabspur

To add I don’t even mind him and certainly respect him but bloody hell he brings some noise .

Urbane Sturgeon
Urbane Sturgeon
2 months ago
Reply to  Cabspur

But Cabby,,,,,,, the circus is all we have.

Finn
Finn
2 months ago

A disappointment but certainly not a surprise and on both form and the balance of play, it was pretty much the right result. It was also a good illustration of the problems we have – and folks, we do have problems!

There is no simplistic solution – even ENIC and Levy selling would not change anything in the short term, (but would IMO go a long way to fixing a core, underlying deficiency in THFC). No, the problems are many and some are compound, ie, you can’t just line them up and fix them one-by-one: the fix for one will change the dynamics of a fix for another.

THE PLAYERS:

There is no doubt that some players have switched off and are now going through the motions waiting for a transfer opportunity or for Jose to quit/get sacked. There appear to be white ants in the dressing room undermining the Manager’s instructions and working against what he wants to do on the pitch: I think the identity of some of these is evident in non-selection.

We have good players, but we don’t have all the right players.

THE MANAGER:

It’s easy to pile the blame onto Jose and in truth he should take some blame for strange team selection, spouting indiscreet crap about players on TV, etc., but he’s struggling to get what he wants from players who are unable or unwilling to unpick their game (which has served them in plying their trade) and re-assembling it. Clearly Tanguy has, as has Harry, Serge, Hugo, Lucas to name a few; all have improved under Jose’s coaching, but we need more and to eliminate those who cannot adapt. Without being able to directly manipulate his squad, Jose is a toothless tiger.

Jose has not been given the carte-blanche he has had in previous manifestations of his divinity; this time he’s having to do some work! I think he knew that when coming in but I also think he underestimated the extent to which Levy would frustrate him. He wanted Skriniar and he might have been the strong leader Jose wanted to build a defence around with enough other defenders in the squad to find the blend that worked. He didn’t want Bale but he’s had to dance a dog and pony trot at every press conference about why he doesn’t pick a former star whose back legs are now decidedly squeaky.

He needs more strength in depth and again he’s been frustrated (I think) by Levy’s inability to let players go: Levy will not take a 2 million loss on a player but will keep him and then pay 2 million a year wages for the bloke to do nothing. Without clearing out the deadwood Jose is stymied by Levy saying we need to sell to buy, but then not being prepared to sell!

THE TACTICS

Tactically we started well, containing and drawing sides out then striking lighting fast on the break, but they soon cottoned onto that and initiated their own tactics to stop our smash and grab game. We moved then to ultra-deep containment a stifling of games. That didn’t work: we don’t have the personnel. Strangely Jose continued down this path despite this, I don’t doubt coaching players how to kill a game, but without a receptive and/or capable squad.

I think he knows what he wants to do and I can see merits in some of his ideas, but he needs several new players to achieve this as some of the current lot just don’t seem to get it.

THE TEAM:

Defence: We all know we have a dysfunctional defence that does not operate as a unit. There is a lot of criticism of some players but in fairness we need to look deeper than people’s pet hates or heroes. I believe our main problem is that we have not replaced Vertongan: we have no naturally left sided CB.

We have been using options in an attempt to find some sort of balance. Both Dier and Toby have had spells there but they are both right-sided CBs and Dier in particular has taken more than his fair share for the team (and the crap that goes with it) by being played on the left; he played on the right today and I thought looked more comfortable. Toby does the better job at it, but I suspect doesn’t like it any more than Dier as he is also right-sided and certainly his long ball distribution is based upon playing on the right of the CB pairing.

At full back we have a menagerie: I think part of the trouble is we don’t really seem to understand if we are playing wing backs, full backs or a hybrid (which just ends up as an suspended train wreck). Again people are quick to point fingers at the players, but the tactics do not seem to be clearly defined and the support structure as noted above is not really there. The centre back combo is so important as the connection between the two CBs allows each the freedom to support their relative flank.

A good example is when Toby and Aurier play together: that combo is generally pretty sound as they re-inforce each other, but look at Davinson and Doherty and they do not. Equally, out left side is very porous with Reggie really doing a defensive job at the back, attacking and covering the midfield whilst trying to get back: but neither him nor Davies are being properly supported by a genuine left sided CB.

We have good players, but we don’t have the right players to make a defence work as a unit, nor do we have a blood and guts leader in that backline to organise and orchestrate it .

Midfield: the Viking does a sterling job, but he looks so good because he’s holding the centre line AND covering left and right. Lo Celso is still finding his feet and is operating at about 70% (thus Sissoko coming on) and Tanguy is not an out and out ball winner; he’s the guy the ball winner passes to. On the left side we have Sonny, who going forward is electric but defensively is very lightweight: he has added a lot of extra running to his game to try to close down more, but he provides only minimal cover to Tanguy and thus either Reggie or Holjberg get dragged out of position.

The same applied on the other side when we had Winks dozing off and dragging Sissoko infield leaving Aurier to either stay on his flank or try to cut in and defend the channel; the result too frequently was a pass straight to that then exposed flank.

With Lo Celso coming back (and a more judicious use of Pamela) I think the right side will become more reliable even with Doherty (if it is with Toby at right CB) . The left side will be more difficult, as Sonny provides only a minimal level of cover which in turn pressures Reggie or draws Holjberg out of position allowing an easy one-two in and out to an open crossing position – and we are so good at dealing with balls in from the wings aren’t we!!!

Forwards: Sonny seems to be under orders to stay wide doing a sort of Martin Peters ghosting job and we don’t really use him so much in the left channel that has proven to be where he is most dangerous, certainly that was where he was doing damage prior to Christmas. Out on the wing he becomes a bit anonymous and is far too good to be used merely to stretch their back four; it also clutters up any overlapping runs from Reggie or Davies.

I feel our forwards are not being allowed the freedom to play as they know they can, they are held back then released as a shock-tactic and frustration is setting in. This is not just down to us but to the opposition taking defensive measure against our strengths….why would they not!

LEVY/ENIC

In Cantonese the word for “Yes” is Hai – straightforward: but “No” its M’Hai, which in essence means “Not Yes” – far less straightforward.

This is Levy’s strategy, he won’t say, “No”, but he will remove all the paths that would lead to a “Yes” outcome. It’s financial, a bad deal, the price for buying/selling is too expensive/cheap, we couldn’t get the deal done before deadline (how many times and we heard that one). It all boils down to not paying the going rate to be a top 4 club.

I can’t see that re-arranging deck chairs will change any time soon, unless of course Uncle Joe turns up his toes and then things may become more “interesting”, also in the Chinese meaning of that word.

So what do make of it all? Well, Everton are two points behind with two games in hand; we play them in what is a six-pointer and frankly on form, we’ll likely lose. If the Goons get up in their next game we’re only two points off Totteringhams Day and a solid mid table. Losing the Carabao and we might be lucky to make Europe at all.

The ENIC/Levy problem will not change but something has to; Levy is shrewd and tends to sail close to the wind but seldom capsizes, suggesting we’ll be busy this summer. We are potentially off to mid table land and there has to be a bad smell around the club. Jose will have made his feeling known on some players and will be doing his brinkmanship dance to get rid of deadwood and reinforcing the need to get some decent A grade new players in.

Will Levy fire Jose? I think not: Levy must know that the fiddle will not play a tune without replacing some of the strings and I think (unless we really implode) Levy will hold firm with Jose and provide him with some of what he wants whilst stringing him along with M’Hai’s. Then again if Jose publically puts Levy in a corner he’ll go the same way as Poch and for the same thing.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Finn

Finn “We have good players, but we don’t have the right players to make a defence work as a unit, nor do we have a blood and guts leader in that backline to organise and orchestrate it “.

In short an instant shake up is required where the one blood and guts leader you are referring to is RODON yes RODON yes RODON yes RODON!! The one player amongst our motley crew who cares and fights for the shirt. Obsessed yes but heh ho I have called it as it is and would make him Spurs captain leading the team out at Wembley against Man City wearing the captains armband. If you can name another player as vocal as Rodon I am all ears? What use is Lloris as captain? Nought.
Managers are paid to make big decisions and this is one of them!

Last edited 2 months ago by David Dillenberg
Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago

Always agreed with you about Rodon.

Nike
Nike
2 months ago

Agree. Rodon looks like a centre back. He’s got to be part of a new backline and is used to playing on the left of a back two.
He’s vocal, physically big, reads the game well and can play. Question is, why has it taken so long for him to become part of the first team.
He’s not the finished article, but he’s head and shoulders above Dier and Sanchez.

Andrew
Andrew
2 months ago
Reply to  Finn

You mentioned Ndombele ‘reassembling’ his game. I don’t think he has at all. In fact for a £53 million pound player what does he bring to the game? A lot of twists and faints which don’t achieve much and a lot of time on the seat of his pants. Also Dier did well yesterday? He was at fault for two goals and lost Cavani for the disallowed goal. Rodon and Toby the CBs for me.

Urbane Sturgeon
Urbane Sturgeon
2 months ago
Reply to  Finn

Given our manager’s reputation for painstakingly scrupulous football related research in every department, if the above was true, I’d have no option but to call Jose out as a complete idiot.

Urbane Sturgeon
Urbane Sturgeon
2 months ago

Oops, that post of mine was referring to this quote – “I also think he underestimated the extent to which Levy would frustrate him.”

Cali
Cali
2 months ago

Paul Pogba should have been red carded it was clear Elbow against Aurier.

Last edited 2 months ago by Cali
Harry Hotspur
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

💯

Nike
Nike
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

I was surprised it wasn’t looked at. It did look like a forearm smash to the face but no one made much of it. Can’t believe most if the pundits were fine with that.
Thought McTominay’s hand off was a foul as well. He swung his arms out to brush off Son and caught him in the face. That hurts, ive been there.

Spursnutd
Spursnutd
2 months ago

Are you trying to suggest Bruce that bale, alli or vini are good players. For gods sake the three of them rolled together could not make a quality player. One is greedy, one is a clown and vini I can’t work out why he is so angry. Sorry but a rubbish article if you use these three players as defence. How many times this season have we seen them come on and produce nothing.

Nike
Nike
2 months ago

Reguilon was struggling all day down the left as Son was not offering much help. Didn’t appear the changes fixed this problem. Maybe the idea with Sissoko coming on was that Hojberg could push across to the left more.

One thing that was noticeable was the number of times Spurs players went down with little contact. Ndombele was the main culprit. Just stay on your feet! Im not sure he made any tackles either, but could be wrong. He doesn’t seem physical enough sometimes.

Baleficent
Baleficent
2 months ago
Reply to  Nike

Nbelly is out of shape. Slow and lacks strength. A few decent touches but not a record signing level of quality. His desire is questionable as well.

Nike
Nike
2 months ago
Reply to  Baleficent

Yep at least Lo Celso has desire. Not sure our midfield is physical enough particularly today against Fred, McTominay and Pogba, hence Jose turned to Sissoko but he really lacks quality on the ball.

James McKevitt
James McKevitt
2 months ago
Reply to  Nike

Right at the business end of the season even the players who were looking good early on, Reguilon, Lo Celso, N’Dombele and Hojbjerg are fading. Think everyone just wants the season over.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Nike

Nothing special based on his recent performances, all you can say about Reggy is that he is the best of a bad bunch!!

James McKevitt
James McKevitt
2 months ago

When Harry and Sonny don’t score we have no goals from anywhere else. You get the odd goal from Moura, Lamela, Hojbjerg and N’Dombele but that’s not enough.

You have Bale, Dele and Vinicius but Mourinho does not fancy them.

There are so many holes in this team that need filled it’s unbelievable.

Baleficent
Baleficent
2 months ago
Reply to  James McKevitt

Someone posted that Gedson, Vinny, Doherty and Jose all share the same agent. Glad to see someone happy with this latest farce.

Nike
Nike
2 months ago
Reply to  Baleficent

Im sure i read that Jorge Mendes is going to be the go to guy for Spurs signings this summer. It doesn’t bode well, but then again he did mastermind most of Wolves signings and they have picked up some gem. Id take Neto

BaleUsOut
BaleUsOut
2 months ago

Dan Kilpatrick must be some kind of mystic, its scarey.

Look on the bright side, we won 7-4 on aggregate

legoverlass
legoverlass
2 months ago

His team selection and subs were poor. Ndombele and Lo Celso together are two lightweight in the middle. Both are creative players but physically do not command enough possession. Dier’s selection at CB was just bizarre. Toby is by far and away the best CB at the club and Rodon needs an experienced player alongside him. Toby is probably one of the best long ball CB’s in the game. Dier is definitely one of the worst. Dier was directly involved in all three Utd goals. This love in with Dier is inexcusable. He should have started with Son, Kane and Bale with Moura in behind. The objective had to be to get in front and not by one goal but by at least two and then perhaps bring in subs in the second half. The whole approach is so negative and does not suit the players we have. I accept we have a load of dross that needs shifting but in the meantime play to your strengths.

Last edited 2 months ago by legoverlass
BaleUsOut
BaleUsOut
2 months ago
Reply to  legoverlass

Wise words.

Le Celso will come good providing the English conditions dont make him injury prone.

Ndombele is playing with shackles on. Jose, release the hound!

Cali
Cali
2 months ago
Reply to  legoverlass

We lost that game because of the midfield which United controlled and the mess in the defence with Mourinho’s ego of not fielding the best and most experienced defender in Spurs team for the last 6 seasons, I mean how can anyone explain Mourinho is a defence minded manager and yet dropping the best defender in his disposal is mind boggling you think Jose has learned his lessons of last couple of years what is the point of holding grudges of players that you stuck with them and can’t do anything to them except dropping them which will not help you anyway and ultimately will cause your downfall sometimes you have to swallow your ego in a short run for your own good in the long run unless he doesn’t care what happens from now on just waiting to get his sack and check will see where we go from here.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

Simply put Mourinho is a busted flush!!

Cali
Cali
2 months ago

I agree I don’t think it is fixable with Mourinho and this lot there is 0 harmony, trust, communication and commitment on both sides I say is just broken.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

A recipe for disaster where our woes could get even worse if Citeh rout us in the League Cup final in front of our small contingent of fans!!

Cali
Cali
2 months ago

If Mourinho is our manager in that final I’m very sure Dier will start that game.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

You could be right + Doherty in the backline!!

Cali
Cali
2 months ago

I just read Mourinho wants to bring Fellaini 33 years old to Tottenham next season believe it or not.

David Dillenberg
David Dillenberg
2 months ago
Reply to  Cali

Smacking of desperation I can’t see it happening!

Cali
Cali
2 months ago

You know what they say never underestimate desperate people you never know how far they will go to get what they want