At the start of the season, a sixth-place finish for Tottenham Hotspur in 2019/20 would have been a fair prediction. However, the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, and subsequent appointment of Jose Mourinho, was less predictable.
Tottenham Hotspur 2019/20 Season Review
Spurs’ squad shrunk over the summer of 2019. 11 players left the team and eight signed ahead of the clubs maiden season in their brand new stadium.
Amongst these losses was England star Kieran Trippier, who moved to Atletico Madrid in July. No replacement for the right-back was brought in to the club.
Many talented players joined the team, including Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy NDombèlé. After two successful seasons with Olympique Lyonnais, NDombèlé made the move to Tottenham for €60 million (£54 million). Having arrived as the club’s record signing he scored on his debut against Aston Villa but struggled when it came to match fitness. Ultimately, he didn’t fit into Jose Mourinho’s squad.
Fan-favourite, ‘Poch’ was at the club for over five years before being forced out in November.
Despite a fourth-place finish in the 2018/19 season and a spot in the Champions League Final, Spurs once again failed to lift a trophy.
So, just three months into the 2019/20 season, being 14th in the league wasn’t good enough for a ‘big six’ team.
The chemistry in the changing room was also questioned and some players were reportedly unhappy. Danny Rose expressed interest in leaving but wasn’t given the luxury under Pochettino.
The Mourinho Effect
The new manager quickly restored some of the confidence within the squad. Spurs went on to win four out of his first five Premier League matches at the helm. This brought them back into the top half of the table.
However, their results took a turn for the worse after the winter break. Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and new recruit Steven Bergwijn all picked up injuries and left Mourinho was left with very few options up front.
Spurs went on a six-match winless run before the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, the Portuguese should have been happy with their sixth-place finish
Defender Ben Davies told NBC Sports: “I think he’s been great for the club, having someone of his stature and calibre coming to the club really gives everyone a lift.”
Spurs blew a two-goal advantage against Olympiacos in their first Champions League group game. The North London club also bowed out of the Carabao Cup at the third round after losing on penalties to Colchester United of League Two.
Matchday 2 in Europe was far worse. Spurs, playing in their first-ever Champions League tie in their new stadium, suffered a humiliating 2-7 defeat against Bayern Munich. A 3-0 defeat at Brighton would follow.
Despite winning their next three European games against Crvena Zvezda and Olympiacos respectively, but defeat in Munich, Spurs reached the knockout stages.
Results domestically were hit and miss. Spurs needed a replay to see off Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, while league results consisted of a draw at Norwich, defeat at Southampton and a win over Manchester City.
A 4-0 aggregate defeat against RB Leipzig saw Spurs eliminated from Europe, while Mourinho’s men were knocked out of the FA Cup after a penalty defeat against Norwich.
Spurs were unbeaten in both north London derbies and ended the season post-lockdown with just one defeat from nine.
Next Season Ambitions
Kane will be a crucial part of the Spurs team and his injury status and his relationships with the club will make or break for the season.
An in-form Dele Alli alongside an injury-free Kane could be what Tottenham need to get back into the Champions League and push closer to the top of the league.