After a light-hearted start to Amazon Prime’s All or Nothing series documenting Tottenham’s 2019-20 season, the latest batch of episodes released this weekend offer us our best taste yet of gripping, unscripted drama as Danny Rose confronts Jose Mourinho in his office.
Having been picked to start by Mourinho just once in six matches since Christmas, the England left back walked into the manager’s office in January demanding answers.
‘I just want to know exactly what the problem is,’ says Rose, ‘if you don’t want me to play, I’d rather you just tell me now, and I’ll stay at home.’
Danny Rose (right) walks into Jose Mourinho’s office to discuss his Tottenham future in January
Rose walks out after getting nowhere – he would leave on loan to Newcastle shortly after
Mourinho then tells Rose that he has not been selected because his performance in the home defeat against Liverpool was poor, but the Yorkshireman doesn’t back down. ‘Other people have been s*** in training, s*** in games, but are in the squad every game,’ he adds. ‘It’s not fair. It’s facts. The whole changing room know it’s facts. Not fair.’ He then walks out of the office and hasn’t played for Spurs since, sealing a loan move to Newcastle not long after the meeting.
Rose has never been afraid to speak his mind, something Mourinho praises him for during the heated exchange, and comes across as honest in the documentary. But given some of the omissions in the series to date, it seems as though he has been hung out to dry somewhat by being made the centrepiece of the series.
In the first batch of episodes, Mauricio Pochettino’s departure was given short shrift, with the focus instead being placed on Mourinho, and again here in the second batch, which covers the Christmas period up until late February, Tanguy Ndombele’s refusal to play against Brighton on Boxing Day is not even mentioned.
In fact, the club’s record signing does not feature at all in the documentary, barring a couple of scenes as a silent extra. A potentially fascinating sub-plot to match Rose’s is swept under the carpet and we are instead given Mourinho’s impressive oratory. The soundbite for the opening credits is in fact from the match that Ndombele refused to play, which features in episode four. Mourinho stirring team-talk, preceding a comeback win, starts: ‘The most important thing for me, not in football, in life is courage, honesty, good feelings, friendship. That’s the most important thing in life and in football.’
Jose Mourinho delivers a team-talk to his players ahead of the Boxing Day win over Brighton
Episode five, undoubtedly the standout from the three on offer, also sees us witness Christian Eriksen’s transfer to Inter Milan unfold. As with whenever chairman Daniel Levy is on camera, however, it all feels a little stage-managed, and you’re left wondering what the protagonists really think about the saga that dragged on for the best part of a year.
Choosing his words carefully in front of the camera and Mourinho, Levy tells Eriksen: ‘From Tottenham’s viewpoint, we don’t want you to go. From a financial viewpoint I’ve always said to you, whatever a club is offering we will do exactly the same, so there can be no doubt in your mind your reason for leaving isn’t a financial one.’
Eriksen then replies: ‘No… you know that.’ To which Levy then responds, turning to Mourinho: ‘I did say that to Jose but I just wanted to make that absolutely clear.’
Perhaps the most interesting insight on the Eriksen transfer comes from Harry Kane, who says sincerely and perhaps a little worryingly for some Spurs loyalists: ‘He wanted a new challenge, you can’t blame someone for wanting to try something new.’
Christian Eriksen (left) left Spurs in January while record signing Tanguy Ndombele (right) has not featured in the Amazon documentary yet
Episode four is a slow mover, with the focal point being Kane’s hamstring injury suffered at Southampton. ‘We’re f*****’, says Mourinho when he finds out his star man will be out for 12 weeks. We also hear plenty from Japhet Tanganga around the time of his breakthrough into the team. It is clear to see why Mourinho is a fan of the driven young defender, who reveals he slipped through Chelsea’s net before being snapped up by Tottenham.
Once the Rose drama and Eriksen saga are over and done with, we witness peak Jose towards the end of episode five. It is easy to see why the directors have built the series around him and his impressive, if expletive-laden, speeches.
At half-time with the scores level against Manchester City after Hugo Lloris saved an Ilkay Gundogan penalty, Jose tells his team: ‘When you save the penalty, they try to put huge pressure for another penalty to be given. This is the difference between a team of f****** c**** and a team of good guys. But the story of football is that teams of good guys, they never win. So f****** hell, be a team of c****.’ Mourinho then points out to his team which of the opposition players are on yellow cards. Oleksandr Zinchenko is later sent off for a second booking, with new signing Steven Bergwijn, whose doting family we meet, scoring the winner.
Steven Bergwijn celebrates his goal against Manchester City in February
After the drama of episode five it’s back down the earth somewhat in episode six, with the main takeaways being Hugo Lloris’ impressive captaincy, especially after Kane’s team-talks from the early part of the season were ridiculed, and Jose’s demanding approach to his medical staff.
Shortly after returning from injury, Lloris tells his team-mates at half-time in an FA Cup tie against Southampton: ‘It is like a friendly game, come on, we need to do more… it is our responsbility, everyone in this f****** changing room.’ Everyone looks to be hanging on the Frenchman’s words, and Spurs duly turned the game around to win 3-2 and progress.
For all Mourinho’s charm, there are reminders of his meaner side, with his grilling of medical chief Geoff Scott making for uncomfortable viewing. He seems to work against his medical staff, rather than with them, telling Scott in no uncertain terms after Son’s elbow injury suffered against Aston Villa: ‘He has to play.’ Son was later ruled out for the season with a fracture.
The season, however, would go on for nearly three months longer than expected due to the coronavirus crisis. The next batch of episodes will tackle that period, though it will be fascinating to see if Ndombele’s woeful performance against Wolves is dealt with in the next episode. Until then, it’s time to sit back and enjoy Amazon’s latest offering from Spurs’ dramatic season.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur is now available on Amazon Prime Video