Risk-averse Jose Mourinho can blame his players for Tottenham dropping EIGHT points from winning positions this season but it is his incessant shutting-up-shop tactics that is costing them a crack at the title
- Tottenham are in danger of slipping out of the Premier League title picture
- Jose Mourinho pointed the finger at his players after Sunday’s draw at Wolves
- Spurs have been punished time and time again for sitting back on leads this term
- Mourinho has never been a boss to take risks and must take a bolder approach
In the capricious climate of today’s Premier League, pragmatism will only ever get you so far.
Jose Mourinho is learning that the hard way.
On Sunday, his Tottenham side suffered another setback in their title tilt as Wolves denied them all three points in the dying embers.
Jose Mourinho’s shut-up-shop tactics cost his Tottenham side again at the weekend
Wolves midfielder Romain Saiss headed in a late equaliser to steal a point against Tottenham
Mourinho’s men had taken the ascendancy in the opening minute through Tanguy Ndombele but failed to build on their auspicious start, instead opting to sit back on their lead.
And it ended up costing them just as that defensive approach had done a few weeks earlier at Crystal Palace.
Mourinho blamed his players after this latest disappointment, accusing them of lacking ambition.
‘I am frustrated with the result, we had control of the game, we had 89 minutes to score more goals and we didn’t,’ Mourinho said. ‘It’s not just about not scoring but also not being dangerous and ambitious and for me that’s the problem.
‘I know the way I prepare the team, I know what I ask from the players. I know what I told them at half time and I say no more than that. I give credit to Wolves but we did not have that ambition or desire to go for more.’
Mourinho’s Tottenham are now down to fifth and in danger of slipping out of the title picture
Tanguy Ndombele gave Spurs the lead at Wolves after a minute but they failed to push on
Where Tottenham have dropped points
Newcastle H 1-1
West Ham H 3-3
Crystal Palace A 1-1
Wolves A 1-1
Total: 8 points
Mourinho hit the nail on the head there so why do Tottenham keep shutting up shop?
You only have to look at the state of the country to understand how uneconomical that approach is.
When they could be adventurous and daring, too often Tottenham have taken the cautious and careful route.
In too many games this season that Tottenham have been dominating, they have rested on their laurels rather than turn the screw. They’ve become a team who looks to conserve instead of improve.
Only three Premier League sides have dropped more points than Tottenham have from winning positions (eight) so far this season while in their last seven games they have mustered just 22 second-half shots.
That tells you the story of how Tottenham have tried to manage games in recent weeks: negatively.
Tottenham keep getting themselves in promising positions to only then take their foot off the gas and crumble. It’s been a reoccurring theme throughout their season.
At the end of last month, Spurs were top of the Premier League table but are now fifth, winless in four and six points off leaders Liverpool.
Mourinho can point the finger at his players for that, but at the very least he should be sharing the responsibility.
Mourinho blamed his players for not being ambitious despite being master of parking the bus
Spurs were punished a few weeks ago for sitting back when Crystal Palace equalised late on
As a manager, he has never been one to take risks and is still very much seen as an advocate for anti-football because of his hard-on-the-eye style.
Others will even stretch to say in another time he must have been a bus driver because he’s proven to be so good at parking them.
Invariably, it is now in Tottenham’s make-up to play the same way as historically Mourinho-managed teams.
When he took over at Spurs, Mourinho vowed that he was a changed man but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and as a tactician he still seems to be reverting back to old formulas.
Only three teams have dropped more points than Spurs have from winning positions this term
Mourinho has never been a risk-taker but his pragmatic approach isn’t working at Tottenham
Mourinho has enjoyed tremendous success by looking at things pragmatically in his career but this season’s Premier League is untamed and unpredictable.
If recent results told him anything, it is that he must be bolder and more aggressive in his methods if he has genuine ambitions of challenging for the title.
Daniel Levy brought Mourinho on board to take Tottenham to the next level and compete for silverware, but right now it is his incessant safety-first mentality that is preventing them from doing just that.