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Tottenham Hotspur Season Review – The Jose Effect

Tottenham players celebrate after scoring a goal
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Tottenham were sold the Jose Mourinho dream in 2019 with the belief that the Portuguese super-manager still had what it took to bring glory to the Spurs. Instead, it turned out to be a multi-million-pound mistake that culminated with his sacking just a few days before Tottenham’s most important game of the season. It turned out to be an incredibly underwhelming year for Spurs that saw them finish 7th in the league and crash out of the Europa League Round of 16 with a 3-0 defeat against Dinamo Zagreb.

What went right?


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Harry Kane and Heung Min Son. The two attackers linked up almost telepathically at the start of the season and it’s been their goals that has carried Tottenham to a European spot. Kane and Son were involved in 83% of Tottenham’s goals this season and they both elevated their game to a different level under Jose. Despite his frosty relationship with Mourinho, Gareth Bale managed to score 11 goals this season in only 900 minutes, a phenomenal record that still shows that the Welshman has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Joe Rodon showed promise at centre back while Pierre Emile Hojbjerg proved to be a bargain for only £15 million. 

What went wrong?


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Jose happened. After lauding the squad at his disposal when joining Spurs in 2019, Jose eventually turned on the majority of his team. When asked to explain Tottenham’s poor performance in the latter half of his tenure and whether he was culpable, his response was “same coach, different players.” Under Jose, Tottenham failed to take the initiative in several games and were incredibly reactive. Going 1-0 up felt like a burden that struck fear into the players instead of liberating them. The full-backs offered very little defensive support and Lamela, Bergwijn, Lo Celso, Moura and Alli combined for only 6 goals this season.

Player of the Season


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Harry Kane ended up with the most goals (23) and assists (14) in the league this season and took his game to even greater heights under Mourinho. Kane did everything the team or manager required him to do from dropping deep, being a target man, linking play and finding the back of the net. At 27, Kane is entering the prime of his career but the burning question for Tottenham is whether that prime will be played out in North London or not. 

Disappointment of the Season

Tottenham signed two high-flying fullbacks in the summer of 2020 – Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon – for a combined fee of £45 million. Unfortunately, both players have had a slow start to life in North London and have combined for only 5 league goals and assists this season. While the attacking output being limited is acceptable, it is defensively where they both have come unstuck. Doherty played his best football as a wing-back for Wolves and couldn’t adapt to a back four with Spurs, while Reguilon struggled to offer defensive support down the left flank.

What Next?

There are two major question marks for Tottenham ahead of this summer that will determine their long-term future. The first is the managerial appointment. They clearly got it wrong with Mourinho which set them back a few years and Daniel Levy desperately needs to get this next appointment right. Levy needs a coach that can play modern football, develop the players already at the club and make Tottenham a force to be reckoned with again (yes, basically Pochettino). The second question is the future of Harry Kane. It is no secret that the striker wants out and Tottenham must decide whether to play hardball and keep him on for another year or sell him right now while his value is at its highest.

The winds of change are expected to blow across North London this summer and it’s down to Daniel Levy to navigate the choppy waters and make Tottenham fans believe again.


[Image Credit: Tottenham Hotspur]