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Scout Reports

What Fantasy managers can expect from new Spurs boss Jose Mourinho

A little over 24 hours ago, Mauricio Pochettino was still in the managerial hotseat at Tottenham Hotspur.

The long-serving Spurs boss has since been dismissed and replaced by Jose Mourinho, who is back in the Premier League after an 11-month absence.

The former Chelsea and Manchester United head coach has signed a contract with the Lilywhites that runs until the end of the 2022/23 season, with the move to north London being his fourth separate stint in the English top flight.

Speaking upon his appointment, Mourinho said:

I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters. The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.

I really like this squad. Of course, I’m not going to say names, I’m not going to tell you individuals because this is completely against my concept of what a team has to be, but I like a lot the ability of the squad.

Spurs’ chairman, Daniel Levy, added:

In Jose, we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.

From the tiresome post-match gripes to the “guarantee” of trophies (he has won at least two leagues or cups in each of his last six jobs), we’re already well aware of what Mourinho has the potential to deliver on his return to English football.

For us Fantasy managers, our interest centres on what effect Mourinho can have on a spluttering Spurs squad.

Spurs in 2019/20 So Far

Sitting in 14th place in the Premier League and winless in five top-flight games, Spurs have ceased to become the attractive proposition to Fantasy managers that they once were.

Harry Kane (£10.8m) is the only Spurs player who can boast a double-digit ownership at present but, to put that in context, he is still the lowest-owned FPL asset in the £10.0m+ price bracket.

Not one Spurs player was owned by more than 10% of the top 10,000 Fantasy managers at the point of the Gameweek 12 deadline.

While the Lilywhites are still a respectable fifth for goals scored in the Premier League, they trail Manchester City, Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool by some distance and have scored on only four occasions in the last five Gameweeks.

On the underlying stats front, Spurs are ranked a lowly 16th for shots in the box and 17th for big chances created.

The picture is even worse at the back, with no team having kept fewer clean sheets (one) than Pochettino’s former charges in 2019/20.

Only Norwich City have allowed more shots on target.

Mourinho – The History

Ever since his appointment as Porto manager in January 2002, Mourinho has won trophies.

His two-and-a-half-year spell with the Portuguese side ended with back-to-back domestic titles, a UEFA Cup success and a UEFA Champions League win in 2004.

Joining Chelsea soon after, the “Special One” secured the Blues’ first Premier League crown for 50 years and then delivered the title again the following year, with three domestic cups thrown in for good measure during his first stint in west London.

Departing Stamford Bridge early on in the 2007/08 season, Mourinho returned to management the following summer with a successful two-year spell in Milan, securing back-to-back league titles and a Champions League crown with Inter.

Tasked with breaking up Barcelona’s dominance in Spain, Mourinho was appointed Real Madrid manager in May 2010 but left with only one La Liga title and a Copa del Rey crown to show for his three years in the Spanish capital.

A return to Chelsea in June 2013 peaked with a Premier League and League Cup double in 2014/15 before he was again axed in December 2015.

Two and a half years at Manchester United rounded off his managerial career before this week, with Mourinho adding an EFL Cup and a Europa League to his list of honours in 2016/17.

All of that paints a pretty picture of Mourinho the manager but there are obvious disclaimers.

The new Spurs boss was cursed by “Third Season Syndrome” in his three previous spells in England, with his two most-recent stints ending at almost exactly the same points (mid-December of his third season in charge) and his last full campaign (2006/07) in his first spell at Chelsea being beset by off-the-field problems.

Then there are the ego and personality issues: from Frank Arnesen to Cristiano Ronaldo, Mourinho has clashed (or reportedly clashed) with a number of high-profile figures at several of his sides.

A nomadic figure of sorts, Mourinho’s tendency to move around and apparent unwillingness to develop youth players has also led to criticisms that he’s yet to build a lasting legacy at any of his clubs.

However, the new Spurs head coach said today:

There is not one manager in the world who does not like to play young players and help young players to evolve, there is not one.

The problem is sometimes you get into clubs and the work that is below you is not good enough to produce these players, but when you have them, the managers are always happy to develop these players, so I look to our history and you see that the Academy is always giving the talent the first team needs. Of course, I also look forward to work with that profile.

Mourinho – The Tactics

Operating mostly in a 4-4-2 diamond at Porto, Mourinho became famous for his 4-3-3 during his first spell at Chelsea – a system that, of course, gave rise to the ‘Makelele role’.

Those two formations continued to be Mourinho’s go-to set-ups throughout his time at Stamford Bridge and then at Inter, with a 4-2-3-1 quickly introduced in Milan.

The move to the Bernabeu continued the tactical evolution, with that 4-2-3-1 shape almost exclusively used by the Portuguese boss.

The formation was also one he generally preferred during his second stint in west London and then in Manchester, although there were dalliances with the 4-3-3 and a wing-back system during his tenure at Old Trafford.

Pragmatic is a word that is often tossed in Mourinho’s direction regarding his managerial approach; negative is another.

Deep-lying defences, counter-attacks and quick transitions have been a feature of his sides’ play in the past although our short-term memories are perhaps blighted by some dire, pedestrian performances during his time in Manchester.

As Michael Cox points out in an article for The Athletic today, number tens have traditionally shone under Mourinho – be it Deco at Porto or Mesut Ozil at Real.

Speaking in 2015, Mourinho said:

For me, a No. 10 does a lot of things, with the ball and without the ball.

So for me, No. 10 is a very special player in my team, when I play with a No10, which in Chelsea in the last period we are doing. In a system of two midfield players and a No. 10, I demand a lot from a No. 10. Every position is important, but it is an important position.

I like a No. 10 to score goals. I like a No. 10 to get in the box. I like a No. 10 to score goals like Oscar against Maccabi Tel Aviv. A No. 10 for me is a No. 8-and-a-half when the team loses the ball and a No. 9-and-a-half when the team has the ball.

Could we perhaps see the re-emergence of Dele Alli (£8.4m) as a viable Fantasy asset, then, after a period of dormancy?

Cox also points out that Mourinho likes his strikers to, well, strike.

Out-and-out centre-forwards such as Didier Drogba and Diego Costa flourished during their time under the erstwhile Chelsea boss, which could well have positive ramifications for Kane as a Fantasy asset, given the concerns about his more deeper role under Pochettino.

Hard-working, up-and-down wingers have often been a feature of Mourinho sides, too, which seems ideally suited to Son Heung-min‘s (£9.6m) skillset.

Mourinho’s resistance to playing two strikers in the past decade may mean that we Fantasy managers won’t be able to enjoy Son as an “out of position” forward, however, unless there is a revisiting of the 4-4-2 diamond that Pochettino had a tendency to deploy.

The former United manager’s constant run-ins with Luke Shaw were a reminder that Mourinho likes his full-backs to be disciplined and defensively sound, too, which might be an issue at Spurs in the short term given the dearth of options available at present – particularly at right-back.

“Defence first” is unquestionably Mourinho’s mantra – as we’ll discuss below.

Mourinho’s Teams – The Underlying Stats

Looking back through our Members Area data (which stretches back to 2011/12), Mourinho’s Chelsea and United sides ranked as follows for several key underlying stats (we have only included full-season numbers).

In terms of the defensive stats, a rank of ‘1st’ means the tightest defence (i.e. fewest shots conceded, most clean sheets etc).

Chelsea: 2013/14

Attacking
GoalsShotsShots in the boxShots on targetBig chances
3rd (71)1st (692)2nd (376)3rd (222)5th (79)
Defensive
Goals concededShots concededShots in the box concededShots on target concededBig chances concededClean sheets
1st (27)3rd (393)2nd (207)1st (120)1st (33)1st (18)

Chelsea: 2014/15

Attacking
GoalsShotsShots in the boxShots on targetBig chances
2nd (73)4th (564)3rd (334)3rd (205)3rd (86)
Defensive
Goals concededShots concededShots in the box concededShots on target concededBig chances concededClean sheets
1st (32)5th (415)1st (208)2nd (121) 1st (35)1st (17)

Manchester United: 2016/17

Attacking
GoalsShotsShots in the boxShots on targetBig chances
8th (54)4th (591)6th (343)4th (208)=4th (76)
Defensive
Goals concededShots concededShots in the box concededShots on target concededBig chances concededClean sheets
2nd (29)5th (361)4th (192)4th (113)1st (32)=1st (17)

Manchester United: 2017/18

Attacking
GoalsShotsShots in the boxShots on targetBig chances
5th (68)6th (512)7th (299)6th (173)6th (78)
Defensive
Goals concededShots concededShots in the box concededShots on target concededBig chances concededClean sheets
2nd (28)7th (436)5th (264)5th (144)6th= (57)1st (19)

A recurring theme in the tables above is that Mourinho’s sides, unsurprisingly, rank better for defensive stats than at the other end of the pitch.

In each of his four full seasons in charge of Chelsea or United in the current decade, a Mourinho team has ranked first or second for goals conceded and clean sheets registered.

Indeed, no other Premier League side could better a Mourinho-led team for clean sheets in the four campaigns scrutinised above, with a minimum of 17 shut-outs recorded in each of them.

There was a scarcity of big chances conceded, too, at least until 2017/18 – the early-season loss of key centre-half Eric Bailly to injury and the alarming dip in form from defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic perhaps mitigating factors there.

The attacking figures aren’t awful but Chelsea or United almost never topped the underlying stats tables, with even the Blues’ title-winning campaign of 2014/15 seeing them ranked only fourth for shots and third for big chances.

Final Thoughts

This is almost unchartered territory for Mourinho: the “Special One” hasn’t experienced a mid-season appointment in almost 18 years.

With Bobby Robson’s one-time right-hand man not having a full pre-season to impart his ideas or indeed a transfer window with which to recruit players of his liking, we might have to be modest in our expectations of the new Spurs boss.

That said, the “new manager bounce” – something Lateriser12 raised in a Hot Topic today – is always something to watch out for (see what happened when there was a managerial change at Old Trafford last season) and, quite frankly, it is difficult to imagine the Lilywhites sinking any deeper than they are now.

Mourinho’s track record for player bust-ups doesn’t sit easily, particularly as he has to immediately find a way of dealing with four contract rebels at Spurs: Christian Eriksen (£8.7m), Danny Rose (£5.4m), Toby Alderweireld (£5.4m) and Jan Vertonghen (£5.2m).

If he can get the Belgian duo on side (experienced defenders very much being Mourinho’s favourite type), then that might be the first stepping stone in shoring up what has been a leaky backline this season.

Budget goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga (£4.5m) may look even more inviting an option to Fantasy managers if the Lilywhites plug the holes in defence.

Further forward, we await the effect that Mourinho has on the likes of Son, Alli, Eriksen and Kane.

While the team stats above point towards a defence-first approach, it may be that Kane and Alli are better suited to Mourinho’s model than they were to the latter-day Pochettino set-up.

The sheer volume of players available to the former Chelsea boss in the middle of the park is perhaps reason enough to hold fire for now, while those Fantasy managers with more cut-price frontlines will see little reason to reshuffle their pack to fit Kane in just yet.

Saturday’s meeting with an out-of-sorts West Ham side will hopefully be a good gauge, with there being some decent Spurs fixtures to tap into beyond that point should the signs be positive.

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601 Comments Post a Comment
  1. NATSTER
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Set of players to fill the blank, which one would you pick?

    (a) Sterling, Mount, Jimenez
    (b) Sterling, Tielemans, Jimenez
    (c) Pulisic, Maddison, Auba

    Mane, KDB, ???, ???, Dendoncker
    Vardy, Abraham, ???

    1. De Gea is GOAT
      • 2 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      B for me.

    2. ZeBestee
      • 5 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      B.

      Son instead of Sterling.

  2. TAB
    • 2 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Pope
    TAA - Soy - Lund - Mendy
    Salah - Maddison - KDB
    Vardy(C) - Ings - Tammy

    Button - CHO - Guendouzi - Lowton

    A) Salah - Mane
    B) Mendy - Aurior
    C) Salah,CHO -> Mane,Martial (-4)

  3. ZeBestee
    • 5 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Is this transfer worth doing?

    KDB > Son

    Fixtures are difficult for City and the play 3 Away games in next 5. Would take advantage of Mou effect early on as well.

    1. NATSTER
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      For me, I'm leaning to keep KDB

      - Man City have capability to score 2-3 goals against any team in this league
      - Not sure about how the new Spurs will look like yet

      But the early effect does really sound interesting.

      1. ZeBestee
        • 5 Years
        21 days, 4 hours ago

        Yeah, I can see good vibes coming out so far. Ole impact was tremendous last season and Son/Kane in particular are really interesting for Spurs this season.

  4. Pomp and Circumstance
    • 8 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Auba--good choice for the festive period? Arsenal not playing that well, but good upcoming fixtures and the player did well in the festive period games last season (as noted by a recent article here)

    1. ZeBestee
      • 5 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      I will steer clear of Arsenal options atm. If you have him already, keep. Otherwise monitor in the next game or 2 first.

    2. Eat my goal!
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Looking for a move away, I wouldn’t

  5. tucaoneo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    KDB + Wilson > Mane + Jimenez? 2 FT.

    1. TAB
      • 2 Years
      21 days, 3 hours ago

      Yes

  6. Witty Pun: Not good at this…
    • 2 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    I'm so happy Mourinho is back, and at SPURS! Makes pretty much every single Top 6 game Spurs play infinitely more interesting. The NLD! Spurs vs Chelsea! Spurs vs Utd!

    Heaven

    1. jia you jia you
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Agreed, its great!

    2. ZeBestee
      • 5 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Poch is a better Manager than Mou imo. I wouldn't have said this 10 years or so back, but I can confidently say it now.

      1. jia you jia you
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        21 days, 4 hours ago

        ...even if he was...he's so boring

      2. Witty Pun: Not good at this…
        • 2 Years
        21 days, 4 hours ago

        10 years ago Poch was an unknown of course you wouldn't say it.

        1. ZeBestee
          • 5 Years
          21 days, 3 hours ago

          You got what I meant, Mou as a Manager 10 years ago and Poch now can be comparable.

    3. bigbudgie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      indeed

      And the bile coming out of Arsenal fans mouths is a sight to behold too!

  7. jia you jia you
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Final dilemma before my teams locked & loaded and it feels a tough one, start one please:
    A. Janmaat (BUR)
    B. Mount (city)

    1. Smudger’s Dirty Dozen
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      I always go highest ceiling...so Mount

    2. Drop the Dendoncker
      • 6 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Mount

    3. jia you jia you
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Cheers guys, siding with Mount atm alright but really want to start Janmaat (might get my wish if Robbo misses out anyway!)

  8. Smudger’s Dirty Dozen
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Morning all, team for the GW below

    Ryan
    TAA Rico Lund
    Mane Sterling Mount Mcginn 
    Vardy Jimi Abraham
    Subs - Soyunchu Tomori Dendoncker

    1 Subs in right order?

    2 Keep FT this week? Thanks

    1. Tonyawesome69
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Start soy over rico and consider a LEI mid tielemanns or Maddi

  9. The Man Pastore
    • 5 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    G2G

    Pope
    TAA Chilwell Lundstram
    Mane KDB Maddison Mount
    Wilson Vardy Abraham

    Button Lowton Cantwell Kelly

    1FT / 1.9ITB

    Is the team ok go this GW? Should I save FT?

    1. Tonyawesome69
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      save, gtg

    2. Drop the Dendoncker
      • 6 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      Have same front line. Will be hard not to do Wilson > Jimenez

    3. Kopkloppers
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      21 days, 3 hours ago

      I have:
      Martial you Maddi
      Soy you Chilwell
      Jimmi you Wilson
      McGinn you Cantwell

      pretty sure we will have similar points this week

  10. TAB
    • 2 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Rp

    Pope
    TAA - Soy - Lund - Mendy
    Salah - Maddison - KDB
    Vardy(C) - Ings - Tammy

    Button - CHO - Guendouzi - Lowton

    A) Salah - Mane
    B) Mendy - Aurior
    C) Salah,CHO -> Mane,Martial (-4)

    1. Tonyawesome69
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      C

  11. Tonyawesome69
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Team gtg?

    Start Ryan (H vs LEI) over Pope (A vs WAT)?

    0ft and 3.4itb
    ryan
    TAA lundy willem
    mane maddi KDB mount martial
    abraham vardy (c)

    pope rico dunk connolly

    1. TAB
      • 2 Years
      21 days, 4 hours ago

      GTG

      Start Pope

  12. Ljungberg
    • 4 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Nice cover photo! But this one would've been even better - https://i.redd.it/ekgo91haksz31.jpg

  13. jia you jia you
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Total transfers: 20
    Can anyone beat that?
    I love a good tranny 😉

  14. ppv
    • 8 Years
    21 days, 4 hours ago

    Kun to Auba? Auba has great fixtures and Kun always rotation risk nowadays.

    1. TAB
      • 2 Years
      21 days, 3 hours ago

      Hold

  15. Witty Pun: Not good at this…
    • 2 Years
    21 days, 3 hours ago

    I wonder if Lo Celso is any good as a winger.