Jose Mourinho is back in work after being appointed Tottenham’s new manager.
The Portuguese, who was sacked at Manchester United 11 months ago, has replaced Mauricio Pochettino on a deal until the summer of 2023.
He inherits a team full of quality but also one on a slide.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the issues Mourinho will have to address.
This will not be an immediate concern, but part of his overall brief will be surely to end Tottenham’s trophy drought. As well as his high profile, Mourinho’s ability to put silverware in the cabinets will have been a massive appeal to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. He is a serial winner, lifting trophies at every club he has been at and that was the one thing missing from Pochettino’s reign. It has been over a decade since Spurs won a trophy and Mourinho will be desperate to change that.
A tight defence was once a cornerstone of the Tottenham side, but that has been a key struggle this season. They have faced more shots in the Premier League than any other side, have kept just one clean sheet and conceded seven in a game against Bayern Munich. Mourinho is renowned for his ability to build a side that is defensively rigid and he will have to get to work quickly on drilling his new back line to make them far more solid.
Pochettino had it tough after a proposed summer rebuild flunked and he was left with a host of players who had been expected to leave the club. And most of those players, notably Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen, have been a shadow of their former selves this season and performed well below standard. Mourinho must find a way to unite the squad quickly and get the best out of players who could leave the club as quickly as January.
Part of Pochettino’s demise was due to terrible away form. Spurs have won just three times on the road since January 10 – all in the Champions League. Their last away win in the league came at Fulham 12 games ago and that is simply not good enough for a side of Tottenham’s quality. Putting that right will tie into Mourinho’s ability to toughen them up as they have looked so flaky on their travels.
While the fate of Eriksen, Rose, Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld may be out of his hands, Mourinho needs to make it his main priority to convince Harry Kane that his future remains at Spurs. The England captain is under contract for plenty of time yet, but he is a superstar of European football and has always said he wants to win things. Ideally that would be at Spurs, and his chances of that might just have improved, but it would be a surprise if he was not linked with the super clubs this summer, especially if he has a good Euro 2020. Mourinho needs to do everything he can to make sure Kane, who had an especially close relationship with Pochettino, still feels content at the club – and hopefully winning matches will help to convince him.