Is Mourinho a dinosaur? Yes. And like me, he’s probably happy to be so.

Published: Monday, 22 March 2021
Wow. Ollie Holt didn’t miss his target. Did you read his piece in the Mail on Sunday? If not - have a look before you read this.

Ok? Right. We can carry on. Let’s first say that Ollie is a top writer and is someone that I enjoy reading. He’s got every right to his opinion. We’ve all got one and I don’t mind throwing the odd hand grenade. Well - you’re right. It can often be an Exocet!  But Ollie unleashed ‘shock and awe’ in Mourinho’s direction. It was vicious. And I believe wrong.

I know he won’t mind me responding. None of us that offers an opinion can get upset when others disagree. It’s part of the game. None of us? Well, none of us apart from The Mirror’s Brian Reade, who pulled me up earlier in the season because I’d said I didn’t fancy James Rodriguez. Fine. Argue the point, but there was no need for the nastiness or the cheap shots that he included in his response. And who was right? Correct. I was. After a couple of good games in blistering sunshine - against run of mill opposition - James disappeared, as I knew he would. And Everton are better without him. I haven’t heard too much from Mr Reade on the subject for a long time.

Anyway. Let’s get back to Ollie’s piece. ‘The Special One? All Tottenham have got is a dinosaur in a designer coat’ screamed the headline. He then set out to dissect and destroy anything that Mourinho has ever done, including his short time at Spurs. I couldn’t help but think that he was still carrying a grudge of some kind following Mourinho’s time at his beloved United. But the more I thought about that, the more I wondered why?Mourinho divides opinion. I’ve had a pop at different times, but it’s hard to criticise what he achieved at a Old Trafford. Yes, he could’ve left in better circumstances, but two trophies and a second place finish? Solskjaer would kill for that - despite his view that ‘trophies are largely for ego’s’. What? Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t too upset about United’s cup exit at Leicester? No Ole. Trophies are for fans. And you’re judged by how many you win.

Isn’t it strange how people that want to insult ‘experience’ always use the word ‘dinosaur’. Of course, I get it. But it doesn’t hit the mark with me because I embrace it. Yes. I’m a dinosaur and oh how I wish I’d had all the experience that I’ve gained down the years when I started out. Dinosaurs must’ve done something right. They ruled the planet for 179 million years. Mankind has been around for just 300 thousand.

So let’s cut that nonsense out. Mourinho is a brilliant coach. His record is bettered only by Ancelotti. Mourinho has had success in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. And given the tools he’ll have success again in England.

Fortunately Daniel Levy is still backing him. I say ‘fortunately’ because those who believe in old fashioned principles - that clubs should be run from the top down - should support that. There’s no question that Mourinho is struggling to win over one or two in the dressing room. It’s why the upcoming Carabao Cup Final - his best chance of silverware Ollie - he’s in the final for goodness sake - is critical. If he wins - he wins the battle - the dissenters can go. If he loses, then another club falls to player power.

Would Spurs’ players down tools for such a big game? They might. Those who were desperate to see the back of Mancini at City gave up an FA Cup final to Wigan. They knew an era of success was guaranteed anyway - so the best solution was to ‘out’ Mancini. The rest is history.  

But the same formula no longer applies. There isn’t the money in the game anymore. Only City can push on to more ‘guaranteed’ success. They’ve got the resources to do it. And they’d do it with or without Guardiola. Spurs are now like Arsenal were when they moved stadiums. They’re deeply in debt. Did anyone hear what Wenger said to us on BeINSPORTS about the decade following their move? He said he knew at the start of every season that he couldn’t win the title and that he’d have to sell a top player in order to keep the bank happy. He knew top four was all he could hope for. He delivered, but was hammered all the same. He kept the club afloat for goodness sake.

That’s what Mourinho has to try to achieve now - with an ordinary group - Son and Kane aside. A trophy would be a bonus. And it doesn’t matter who manages Spurs through this era - that’s it. That’s the extent of what’s possible.

It’s got nothing to do with being a ‘dinosaur’ and therefore being ‘out of touch’. We know now how the upcoming final will be played. Just as United now play - with Spurs sitting in and waiting to attack. That doesn’t make Mourinho old school - it makes him smart. What’s the alternative? Should he open up and get battered?

Has Klopp lost his touch because Liverpool have lost five home games on the bounce? Spurs have won more games than Liverpool this season. They’ve scored more goals and conceded less. They’re two points better off for goodness sake. No-one is suggesting Klopp’s time has come.

Is Guardiola not able to compete with the likes of Di Matteo, Heynckes, Ancelotti, Enrique, Zidane and Flick, all of whom have won the CL since he last did in 2011?  And he’s spent £1.04 billion trying to do it without Messi. His supporters will argue of course not.

Success doesn’t come in straight lines. It has to be earned. It has to be fought for. It requires a strategy and belief. There are no guarantees. Would I rather Mourinho worked in our league than anywhere else? Too right. And may the game always be played differently. If everyone bought into the tippy tappy ideals of some of the modern coaches - my goodness we’d all be bored shitless. There’s a place for everyone.

So, if you don’t mind Ollie, I disagree with almost everything you said. But I look forward to reading next week’s column. I always do.