Hey Dave: What’s gone wrong at Tottenham Hotspur?

Brighton’s Leandro Trossard, left, challenges for the ball with Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele during an English Premier League soccer match between Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur at the Amex stadium in Brighton, England, Sunday Jan. 31, 2021. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP)

If there’s any team in the Premier League that started off strong and has recently gone on a bit of a decline, it’s Chelsea who have spent a lot of money over the summer just to be seventh in the Premier League table. Jokes aside (not really), it has actually been Mourinho’s men, the “meme team” for years on end, Tottenham Hotspur. From the top of the league in December to the sixth at the time of writing, almost everything has gone wrong for the Lilywhites. But, from a fan’s perspective, this was inevitable. 

I could go on about the reasons why Spurs are in a pit of a pickle, most of which I don’t believe to be Mourinho’s fault. But what I will pin on the trophy-decorated manager are his lack of finding proper defenders and his sour relationship with Dele Alli.  

As a Spurs fan, this has been an incredibly frustrating month, let alone the transfer window. The club has made no effort to try and find another defender even for a lone deal, because the board believed that it’s best to prioritize the team’s defensive issue in the summer. The result of this decision, you ask? In their past seven games, the Spurs have won twice, split the points in two games and given away necessary points in three with their most recent being their Jan. 31 defeat to Brighton. Within this time frame, four players — Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilón, Alli and Harry Kane — have picked up an injury. 

This pretty much leaves little to no room for Mourinho to add some creativity in his squad, and therefore have no choice but to utilize players who have been extremely mediocre, to put it lightly: Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Davies as mentioned, to some degree Eric Dier and a few others. Do I agree with the people on social media saying ‘Mourinho out’? No, absolutely not. To me, they’re pretty idiotic to think he’s the issue with the club when some of the players can’t seem to even play with pride. Davies is running around like a headless chicken, Sissoko just can’t win the ball as much compared to Tanguy Ndombele or Lo Celso and Dier’s tracking on the ball is straight up awful. It doesn’t help that Davinson Sanchez and Matt Doherty have heavily underperformed. 

By the time you’re reading this, the January transfer window has closed. In Tottenham’s case, Dele Alli, despite rumors saying he was heavily linked to Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint-Germain for the January window, won’t be able to leave until the summer.  Even though the North London club were interested in bringing back Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan didn’t want the Dane to leave. The Alli transfer would’ve only gone through if Spurs were able to find a replacement. 

Do I understand where the Englishman is coming from when he’s hardly being played? Yes. Do I understand why Mourinho likely hasn’t been playing him more than he would like? Absolutely yes. If you watched the team’s “All or Nothing” documentary from Amazon Prime Video, you might recall Mourinho asking Dele in his first training session one important question: “Are you Dele? Or are you Dele’s brother?” When the Englishman said he was Dele, Mourinho told him, “Ok, now play like Dele.” He’s known from the start that getting Dele to consistently starry in form would be an issue, and while Alli had his good moments under the Portuguese manager at the start, he’s gone back to the form he was playing when Poch was sacked. Maybe instead of showing his annoyance of not starting he can put that effort into acknowledging why he isn’t starting and work on that in training. If he wants to get more playing time, he needs to show that he’s dedicated like Ndombele, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Heung-Min Son to get minutes. 

Tottenham is nearly back into square one with all their issues piling up. As sad as it may sound, the best they can do in the Premier League is to try and get Europa League qualification should they get knocked out of the tournament this season. At least they’re close to getting trophies through the English federation’s domestic cups. Sure, they’re not as glorious as winning the league, but given their 10-year trophy deficit, the club would take anything that isn’t the Audi Cup. 

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