The time between Tottenham announcing Mauricio Pochettino’s departure, and Jose Mourinho’s confirmation as his replacement, was 11 hours. It felt like the club had planned the switch in advance, however sudden it seemed to the public. This clearly wasn’t a rushed decision, but a lot about the Mourinho appointment feels like a gamble for Spurs, not least to their stability as a club.
The five-and-a-half years of Pochettino’s reign were a rarity in modern football. A club actually sticking with a manager, a philosophy and a project. So for the club’s hierarchy to not only pull the plug on the project, but to appoint a manager with a record for short stints and short-term success, represents a big U-turn.
Sure, Spurs haven’t been right for a while now. They’ve seemed stale this season. Pochettino’s relationship with chairman Daniel Levy hasn’t been the same since the summer of 2018. A summer where the club spent literally no money on transfers, much to Pochettino’s disdain.
However, the football world revered Spurs because of his philosophies; pressing, attacking football, faith in youth, an eye for talent. And years building a solid core of a team that was the envy of the league.
Mourinho the “anti-Pochettino”
With Jose Mourinho now at the helm, the stability that’s become the Spurs hallmark is now under threat, and this is a big gamble.
Mourinho is almost the “anti-Pochettino”; pragmatic, mistrusting of youth, a prolific spender, and known for short-termism. How will his relationship with Levy work, when both have very different spending records? And what kind of tactical set-up can we expect after the cavalier Poch years?
A lot of questions for Spurs to digest, and a lot of uncertainty – more than they’ve had for a decade. Who know how this will turn out for them?
Pochettino on the other hand will have no shortage of takers in his next step. His stock has risen despite Spurs recent struggles, and the high regard in which he is held by the fans speaks volumes.
He has left a legacy at Tottenham that will rightly be remembered as a golden era for the club. Whether Mourinho can either prolong that success, rather than reverse it, is the biggest challenge the club has faced in decades.