You’d be hard pushed to find a Premier League manager who could benefit from the global lock-down more than Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho.
Prior to the country grinding to a halt, Spurs were a club in dire straits, facing a genuine battle to avoid a comical end to the campaign.
Mourinho’s men had not won for six games in all competitions. They had been embarrassed in the Champions League by RB Leipzig and basement boys Norwich had knocked them out of the FA Cup on home soil.
Injuries were stacking up too. Harry Kane, so often the saviour, had been ruled out for the season with a hamstring problem; Son Heung-min was also missing after breaking his arm against Aston Villa.
The March lock-down couldn’t have been timed any better for Mourinho. Fast forward three months and the Portuguese boss has his talismanic duo Son and Kane fit and whisper it quietly, but Spurs might be thinking of gatecrashing the top four.
Last night, a Tomas Soucek own goal and Kane’s 18th goal of the campaign saw Tottenham defeat West Ham 2-0, following up Friday’s decent point against Manchester United.
Mourinho was his usual agitated self on the touchline. When Son saw an effort ruled out for offside the frustration was there for all to see and when Soucek put through his own goal the delight was equally visible.
At times during his Manchester United tenure, the 57-year-old looked like a boss with the weight of the world resting upon his shoulders. Before the pandemic struck, a similar perturbed look became noticeable on Mourinho’s face, with many fearing the end might be near.
A new lease of life, or perhaps more accurately, a few of his star players returning to fitness might just spark some life into Mourinho.
Following his acrimonious Old Trafford exit, many feared he was a spent force in the modern game. After initially starting well at Tottenham, he showed glimpses that he could accustom to the Premier League during 2019/20.
Injuries became a weekly occurrence and it looked for all the world that Mourinho was falling short of ideas once again.
As far as football management goes, Mourinho has to be considered one of the greats of his generation. He’s won league titles in Portugal, England, Spain and Italy; claiming the Champions League crown with both Inter Milan and the unfancied Porto.
Despite his fair share of criticism at United, he did end their small wait for silverware. The Red Devils lifted the League Cup and the Europa League during the 2016/17 campaign.
Many will view Mourinho as Marmite. Indeed, with many Tottenham fans, the jury might still be out.
Football is badly lacking in characters, however, proper characters who go against the grain of a media trained, 21st-century robot who gives reporters the answers they think they want to hear.
Mourinho is a man who simply loves to win football matches. Predecessor Mauricio Pochettino ensured that whoever took over at Tottenham would have some sizeable shoes to fill.
If there is one manager up to the task, one who will fancy the challenge of proving people wrong, it’s Mourinho.
The game needs people like Jose and the unprecedented break in play might just have given the boss the time he needs to get things back on track at Tottenham.
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