Jose Mourinho made an interesting comment after Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 against West Ham on Sunday at the London Stadium.
Despite facing the fifth defeat in their last six league matches, Mourinho feels that his team are not in a crisis, and certainly, he doesn’t doubt his coaching methods. However, he adds something, which needs proper decoding.
“No, not at all. Mine and my coaching staff’s methods are second to nobody in the world,” said the two-time Champions League winner.
“I think for a long, long time, we have problems in the team that I cannot resolve by myself as a coach.”
a) I think — clearly suggests it is his personal opinion.
b) ‘for a long, long time, we have problems’
— What does he mean by ‘long, long time’? If he is referring to his regime in particular, does that time frame count from December when they were challenging for the title and then there was a gradual decline?
— Does that “long, long time” refer to the problems Spurs have had since the time of Mauricio Pochettino which has remained unsolved?
The second part of that statement is “problems”.
— Is he referring to problems with the board, especially with the transfers? Indirectly hinting that he hasn’t been allowed to sign players he wanted?
— Or the club have keep players against his wish? The examples of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli comes to mind. It was reported last month that Alli wanted a switch to PSG but Daniel Levy was against the move.
There is a common perception that Spurs transfers – selling or buying – are conducted by the board and nothing to do with the manager. Is Mourinho frustrated with that strategy? How many of the new signings are his own recommendations?
— If it is a short-term problem (referring to his recent issues) – is it about the poor defensive record he’s referring to? In that case, it is his responsibility to sort it out.
— Is he referring to Tottenham’s fragile mentality?
Surely, if he is so confident with his system, methods, principles – Mourinho then automatically rejects criticism that his conservative playing style, over-reliance on Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min and his team selections are the principle drawbacks!
— Is he referring to some of his players?
Again, it comes back to recruitment, possibly hinting that some of his players are simply not good enough.
And finally, c) ‘I cannot resolve by myself’
This part is contradictory. If it is a short-term issue, and if it relates to on-field issues (take Liverpool’s defensive/injuries as a cross-reference) – is it absolutely beyond Mourinho’s control to rectify it?
If that is the case, then surely he has lost the dressing room. However, he also suggests that he has full faith in his systems, which means he believes he can fix the present crisis.
If he is targeting Mr Levy for not backing him enough in the transfer market, then were his comments a few months back just a PR gimmick?
We all know Mourinho has a tendency to put blame on everyone expect on himself, so doubts remain about whether he is self-introspecting on his failure here.