Jose Mourinho's demise at Tottenham Hotspur: The inside story

  • Kat Lucas

It is a familiar set of circumstances which threatens to topple Jose Mourinho at Tottenham. 

The Portuguese is on the brink after his side’s 3-0 humbling in Zagreb.

Another defeat against Aston Villa on Sunday could spell the end of his tenure during the international break, many believe, though Daniel Levy will be reluctant to sack him before the Carabao Cup final. 

To say that this is classic Mourinho territory is one thing. But in reality, his time at Spurs hasn’t even followed the usual pattern.

There have been no glorious first and second seasons and his entire reign has been riddled with complaints about the style of football and question marks about whether the team have improved. 

One parallel between his current plight and his downfalls at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United is clear, nonetheless. His relationship with the players appears to be in decline and he lashed out at their “attitude” in his post-match interview on Thursday. 

The Telegraph report that he didn’t even speak to his players in the dressing room after the Dinamo defeat, having suggested many of them only care about money. The Sun add that the players themselves are “miserable”. 

Behind the scenes at Tottenham

Results have obviously played a part in creating that atmosphere. The north Londoners are out of the FA Cup and Europa League and have gone from league-leaders at the start of December to eighth. Between January and February, Mourinho’s side went on a run of six losses in eight games. 

However, there is far more to the unhappiness within the dressing room than that. During the defeat to Liverpool in January, Mourinho hauled off Serge Aurier for his mistake in the build-up to the Reds’ opening goal and the Ivorian subsequently left the stadium before the game was over. 

Incidents like that have led to serious misgivings about the manager’s treatment of players, including Dele Alli. Many are also unhappy with the style of football they are being asked to play. 

That is not to say all the players are against Mourinho. Yet according to The Times, he is now running out of support in the dressing room. 


Per the same report, Mourinho has some grievances of his own, namely Levy’s failure to offload Alli in the transfer window.

Meanwhile, Football Insider also note that he is baffled by the decision to sell Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid for such a low fee, even though it happened during the Mauricio Pochettino era, as he believes Aurier and Matt Doherty are not of the same calibre. 

With those tensions in mind, Levy is expected to wield the axe if Spurs don’t qualify for the top four, with RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann emerging as the leading contender. He is keen to work in London too, which suggests he could be tempted.  

There are conflicting reports over whether Spurs included a break clause in their current boss’ contract. That could make sacking him incredibly pricey – it would cost upwards of £20 million to pay him off – and the club have been hit hard by a year of no gate receipts at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Even so, the financial implications of Spurs going into free-fall and the fear of losing the likes of Harry Kane, won’t be lost on Levy either. 

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