Football Features

Eight places & defensive priority: The key stats from Mourinho’s first 10 games in charge of Spurs

By Chris Smith

Published: 14:14, 30 December 2019

With another decade coming to an end, it seems fitting that one of the biggest managerial appointments of the season so far has just played his 10th game with a new club.

That’s right, Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Norwich City saw Jose Mourinho clock up double figures for the Lilywhites since taking over from Mauricio Pochettino in November.

So, just what sort of effect has the Portuguese tactician had on his new side, and what are the key stats behind his reign so far? We’ve take a look but, of course, it’s worth pointing out that the 56-year-old has barely had time to breathe since settling into his new surroundings. Game have been coming thick and fast.

1. Eight places

The first and most obvious difference for Spurs since Mourinho replaced Pochettino is the huge change in their league position.

Mourinho walked through the door with Tottenham sat way back in 14th place, quite the fall from grace for a side that reached last season’s Champions League final and were, for a short time, dark horses in the title race.

Now, 10 games later, Spurs have surged up to sixth, just a point behind Manchester United in fifth and five adrift of Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League spot.

2. Win rate

Obviously, a huge part of Tottenham‘s surge up the table has been the win rate they’ve enjoyed under Mourinho so far.

Across all competitions, the north London side have been victorious in six of his 10 games in charge to date – that 60 per cent win rate is the highest Mourinho has enjoyed at any club since his spell with Real Madrid (71.9%) between 2010 and 2013.

Of those six wins, five have come in the Premier League, while Tottenham have drawn with Norwich and tasted defeat to Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich up to this point.

3. Leaky defence

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Mourinho, with Spurs proving an unusually easy nut to crack despite his tendency to prioritise defensive solidity.

In a worrying trend moving forward, Tottenham, have conceded two or more goals in seven of Mourinho‘s 10 games in charge of the club. Tightening things up will surely be a priority as he attempts to guide Spurs back into the Champions League places – and into the latter stages of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

23/11/19: West Ham 2-3 Tottenham (Premier League)

26/11/19: Tottenham 4-2 Olympiacos (Champions League)

30/11/19: Tottenham 3-2 Bournemouth (Premier League)

04/12/19: Man Utd 2-1 Tottenham (Premier League)

11/12/19: Bayern 3-1 Tottenham (Champions League)

22/12/19: Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea (Premier League)

28/12/19: Norwich 2-2 Tottenham (Premier League)

4. Not so clean sheets

Such defensive misgivings have obviously played a significant role in the number of clean sheets Spurs have managed to keep during Mourinho‘s time at the club.

The likes of Serge Aurier, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez have struggled for consistency so far this term, while the absence of France international Hugo Lloris has also had a marked effect on the Tottenham squad, all combining to restrict the Lilywhites to just one clean sheet so far – which came in a 5-0 win over Burnley at the start of December.

5. Form guide 

But for all their near misses and struggles at the back, Spurs are still grinding out results, hence their ascent up the table.

During the eight Premier League games they’ve played under Mourinho, only Liverpool (24) have taken more points than Spurs (16), who only sit behind Manchester City in the form table in that time thanks to a slightly inferior goal difference, although they do hold a +3 advantage over Leicester in that regard.

6. Banishing Dele’s brother

By quite a distance, Dele Alli is the individual Spurs player to have benefitted most from Mourinho‘s arrival.

The talent and technique of the former MK Dons man is clear for all to see but a loss of form and confidence really did leave people questioning whether or not Alli had what it takes to be a long-term success.

Well, Mourinho has certainly been convinced since stepping into the dugout at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Alli has repaid that faith so far, scoring five goals and notching three assists in all competitions.

No Spurs player has had more direct goal involvements (eight) than him in the Mourinho era. Surely he’s doing enough to earn a recall back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad? Either way, he has become Mourinho’s go-to man.

7. Taking the right steps

Spurs are nowhere near perfect, that much is obvious. However, they are certainly taking steps in the right direction.

Under Pochettino this season, Spurs ranked 15th in the Premier League for interceptions (158), 11th for tackles (268) and sixth for dribbles completed (189). The Lilywhites were far too passive in possession, leading to a concession of goals and a proverbial ton of pressure on their own box.

Since Mourinho‘s arrival, they’ve moved up to third for interceptions (97) and tackles (153), while the Portuguese tactician has also managed to move them up to third for dribbles completed (121) – the increased usage of Lucas Moura may play a key factor in this, offering Spurs a much more dynamic attacking option alongside Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.

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