The Jose Mourinho blame game is not helping the Tottenham Hotspur collapse. this time, it came against Newcastle United in the Premier League. Instead of holding a united front, Jose Mourinho once again handed the blame to the players: A method that will only divide the dressing room.
Jose Mourinho Blame Game Not Helping Tottenham Hotspur in Collapse
Tottenham Hotspur Collapse Down to Attitude and Basics
Mourinho will go down in football history as an incredibly successful manager, but he won’t be remembered as someone who openly takes responsibility for his failings. His two spells at Chelsea ended with unrest in the dressing room and he has never been shy of putting the blame solely at the door of his players.
In many respects, when it comes to Spurs, he is right in what he says about players not doing their jobs. In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, he picked out the second goal as an example of too many mistakes being made, saying: “Looking at the second goal, it’s easy to understand because there’s three different moments – the cross, the ball at the far post where they won it, and then the ball in the face of the goal where our two centre-backs were in position. You can analyse it easily.”
It was a calamitous goal to concede. Sergio Reguilon ducked his responsibilities quite literally before Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon made a complete hash of clearing the ball, leaving Joe Willock an open goal to fire in to.
And, yes, the blame does not lie with Mourinho for that goal, but it is the manner of how he goes about issuing blame that feels uncomfortable.
Failure to Turn Leads Into Three Points
15 points have been dropped this season from winning positions by Mourinho’s Spurs following the 2-2 draw against Newcastle and it is not something usually associated with one of his teams. When BBC Five Live’s reporter, Juliette Ferrington asked Mourinho about his reputation for holding leads and what is happening at Spurs, his response was brutal: “Same coach, different players.”
Tottenham Hotspur players, who collapsed once more, hearing this will not have been happy. In making the statement, Mourinho shifts every inch of the blame onto his players.
Once players go out onto the pitch, they need to do their jobs but can a manager really claim to be exonerated of any blame at all? It is the manager who has constantly changed the back four all season and, whilst none of the back four have covered themselves in glory, the lack of any cohesion and consistency is never going to help. Mourinho has dropped Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld on numerous occasions yet he has stuck with Sanchez despite the defender being a standout player for constantly making erroneous decisions.
Mourinho knows he is error-prone so why keep picking the player? The manager has to take his share of the blame.
Publicly Shaming Players is Bad Management, Especially in a Tottenham Hotspur Collapse
Whether it be football or in an office, publicly shaming employees is never a good look. Mourinho went on in his post-match interview to again question his players ‘qualities’, saying: “But there are mistakes which I probably shouldn’t even call mistakes because they are related to qualities that players have.”
He is clearly stating that the mistakes happen because the players are not good enough. He was brought in by Daniel Levy to develop the players and to create a winning mentality. And he has now had long enough to do this but he hasn’t. Some of this may well be down to players’ attitudes and qualities, as he puts it, but the issue he needs to accept is that the players are simply not responding to his style of management. His constant degrading of his squad has left players looking nervous when going out onto the pitch. That is being reflected in performances.
Players have had their confidence sapped and it is manifesting itself in nervy football, a lack of cohesion in ball retention. To hand the blame solely onto the players is passing the buck.
Mourinho Blame Game Nothing New
When Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in 2015, it followed a 2-1 defeat by Leicester City and, following the game, he stated the performance of his players as a ‘betrayal’ of him. Despite his success at Stamford Bridge, he was always a comment or two away from splitting a dressing room in half so his current comments are not surprising even if they are ill-advised.
No club, no player will ever be bigger than Jose Mourinho in his eyes. When he joined Spurs he suggested he was now the ‘humble one’ but that ship has long since sailed.
Mourinho and Spurs: An Awkward Marriage
The former Chelsea manager, adored by Chelsea fans, was always going to be a risk-filled appointment for Levy as expectations were always going to be high, especially because of Mourinho’s past. Tottenham Hotspur could still end their trophy drought despite their collapse, however.
Spurs are in the League Cup Final where they will face Manchester City and should Spurs win, Mourinho will have brought a first trophy in 13 years and the top four is still there for them if they can plug holes at the back and get away from some of the tepid recent performances.
Even with those potential successes on the pitch, Mourinho blaming players alone is not going to sit well in the dressing room. Should a cup final success not materialise and a second season outside of the Champions League come to fruition, it will be a huge failure of Mourinho; one that would likely lead to his departure.
Mourinho blaming players in private is one thing. Doing it in such a public manner and accepting no blame himself is quickly starting to look less divide and conquer and more divide and run.
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