sport news Jose Mourinho had a tough first season at Tottenham and it could get worse

There is a moment in Amazon's 'All or Nothing' documentary about Tottenham where Jose Mourinho ponders his arrival at the club. 

'It is only the second time I arrive at a club midway through the season,' he says. 'and it always means the club has problems'.

Spurs did indeed have plenty of problems. In many ways, Jose Mourinho walked into an impossible situation in north London. He inherited a team made in the image of his predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino, but one that had gaping holes and had gone stale after more than five years of near-success under the Argentinian.

Jose Mourinho faces a defining season in his managerial career with Tottenham this year

Jose Mourinho faces a defining season in his managerial career with Tottenham this year

The 'Special One' had some early success but faces major challenges in the 2020-21 season

The 'Special One' had some early success but faces major challenges in the 2020-21 season

He replaced Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked following a run of poor results this year

He replaced Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked following a run of poor results this year

MOURINHO'S SPURS RECORD SO FAR 

Wins: 16

Losses: 11

Draws: 8

*Knocked out of the Champions League by RB Leipzig in the last 16

*Knocked out of the FA Cup by Norwich in the 5th round

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The defence was leaky. Key men were running out their contracts. They were in 14th after an 'extremely disappointing' run of results that led to Pochettino's departure. The man himself warned that a 'painful' rebuild would be on the cards following the Champions League final defeat against Liverpool. Pochettino just didn't envisage that he wouldn't be around to oversee it. 

Mourinho has done some of the groundwork since then. The futures of Christian Eriksen, Toby Aldeweireld and Jan Vertonghen have been resolved one way or another. Only seven league goals were conceded post-Premier League resumption as Spurs clambered their way up to sixth via heartening wins against West Ham, Arsenal and Leicester. 

But there were also plenty of red flags, before and after lockdown. A meek 2-0 defeat against Chelsea in December. A painfully drab goalless draw against soon-to-be relegated Bournemouth in July. A lesson in how much work is required during defeats against RB Leipzig in the Champions League in February and March. 

Seven weeks on from the last game of the season, a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, and Mourinho is at a crossroads moment in his career.  

During lockdown, L'Equipe compiled a list of the best managers in the world. Adorning the front page were Zinedine Zidane, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. Mourinho was nowhere to be seen. 

French newspaper L'Equipe left Mourinho out of their list of top rated managers in the game

French newspaper L'Equipe left Mourinho out of their list of top rated managers in the game

'[Mourinho] is still brilliant in press conference, still boring in the game, but seeming a million miles from his former glory,' they claimed. 

That will be put to the test this season. There is a case to be made that the top six, let alone top four, will be tougher than ever before this time around. Chelsea have invested more than £200million in the transfer market on some of Europe's best young talent.  

can claim to have the most complete midfield in the Premier League after the arrival of Donny Van de Beek from Ajax, and the arrival of some additional fire power could push them over the top. 

Mourinho made it clear in Amazon's 'All or Nothing' series that he wants to harden up his team

Mourinho made it clear in Amazon's 'All or Nothing' series that he wants to harden up his team

Sheffield United, Leicester and Wolves will be strong once more and Everton have splashed the cash under Carlo Ancelotti. Arsenal showed signs of an identity developing under Mikel Arteta in the Community Shield and further defensive reinforcements since then will only help. 

One key theme of the early Mourinho era, expressed publicly and privately, is his concerns over a lack of mental toughness among his squad. Famously, in All or Nothing, Mourinho urged his players to be a group of 'c****'. The signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton is a step towards resolving that issue.   

'He has attributes that we've been missing,' said Eric Dier before England's bore draw against Denmark. 

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's arrival is designed to add steel and character to Mourinho's team

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's arrival is designed to add steel and character to Mourinho's team

Wolves' Matt Doherty solves a problem position for Spurs on the right-hand side of defence

Wolves'

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