Was Levy right to replace Poch with Mourinho?

Another season is over, and this was a strange one in more ways than one.

The biggest news for Tottenham supporters was the sad demise of Mauricio Pochettino. I have been watching Spurs for more than 30 years and his tenure will go down as my favourite time to be a Spurs fan. There were many high points but the 2-1 come from behind win over Arsenal at the old White Hart Lane stands out, with two goals from a young Harry Kane. The atmosphere made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Taking my dad to see us beat Real Madrid in the Champions League will go down as a close second.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Levy backed Pochettino over the squad but that would have necessitated a time consuming and costly rebuild, something that only the Alex Fergusons of this world get the chance to try.

We also say goodbye to Jan Vertonghen, a great servant to the club. I will fondly remember his rare forays forward with the ball, demonstration that his skills were really too good to be a centre back.

And now we have Mourinho. I’m not really sure what to make of him. Ten years ago I’d have bitten your hand off if we’d had the slightest chance of securing his services but it feels a little like his time has passed. I might have preferred a more left field choice like Ralph Hasenhüttl – although raiding Southampton again might have looked a little cliched.

At a superficial level, the change seems to have worked, at least in the short term. When  Jose took over Spurs were a distant 14th in the league. Looking at just the games since his arrival would put us 4th. We went from a low 1.17 points per game to a much healthier 1.73.


However if you delve deeper into the numbers it paints a less rosy picture. Mourinho’s Tottenham took 45% of shots in their games, versus 46% during Poch’s ill-fated 12 game start to the season. If you built a table of shot ratios, Poch would have been 11th and Mourinho 10th. This suggests that the improvement may have have been more reversion to the mean than the effect of the new regime?

In that time Tottenham’s average possession went from 56.6% to 50.9%. From 6th to 9th in the division. It was not pretty.

Of course this is early days. Taking over mid-season with a squad in such disarray didn’t give much time for Mourinho to imprint his supposed new vision on the team. Things did seem to improve after the enforced break as players came back and he had some time on the training pitch.

Now he has a transfer window and some sort of a preseason (if a shortened one). Next season is the time to judge if Levy’s decision was the right one.






4 thoughts on “Was Levy right to replace Poch with Mourinho?

  1. bikergrandad

    Sorry to say this but Yes I think Levy was wrong to get rid of Pochetino.With support and funding and all that went on at Tottenham during those 5 years or so MP would have made us a more attractive team and a more successful one longer term. As you say time will tell but I in 2 years time I will hate saying “I told you so!”

  2. TommyHarmer

    I know lots of fellow Spurs supporters who, like me, would sooner have Pochetino than Mourinho wherever we finished this season. I think that Levy was very disappointing in his lack of support of Mauricio, both before and during the sacking, and he replaced a Spurs-style manager with a defensive-minded has-been. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but I don’t think I will. Mourinho will run out of friends in three years, by which time he will have removed all the adventure from the team

    1. Jon @ AnythingButPenalties Post author

      It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Levy backed Mauricio over the squad. It would have been a massive rebuilding job, costly and time consuming, which I guess is why only the Alex Ferguson’s of this world get the chance to try it.

  3. Gerald Bond

    I have been a 100% fan of Spurs since 1960, my father was in the RAF and they were the very first team I saw play on the TV, as they won I have supported them ever since, I was 7 years old.
    That being the case, I have seen the very good, the very bad and everything in between. Since the Levy era Spurs have had problems with the appointment of managers, their different responsibilities and especially the transfer market. I believe Mr Levy enjoyed/enjoys the thought that he is ruthless in the transfer area, this always seems to back-fire as we either the selling club pulls out or the player himself does not want to move. I originally believed that « Poch » was the best manager we had appointed for many years, and he probably was, but he only had one way of playing, he never had a plan B or a plan C. In my opinion he should have left at least 1 year earlier, for the his career and Spurs. He should NOT have been replaced my Maurinho. José has only ever had 2 good seasons, Max 3, with any club, he can not keep the peace in a modern “player led” dressing room as he is an authoritarian and dictator. He has ended up playing each player against each other thus they have ALL become very selfish and won’t play the game we are best at, fast forward passing exciting football, we now try to play sideways and backwards football with multiple touches and individual possession. At my age I am resigned to being a “life-long” Spurs fan but detest the so-called fans who insult anybody and everybody who criticizes the club. Spurs have made huge mistakes in buying supposed midfield geniuses from France recently, only one is worth his salt, Sissoko, N’Dombele, our most expensive player, is a prime example, he was at LYON 2 years, during which time he scored ONE goal, on the last day of the season he left the club and against a relegated club, look at LYON now that he has left, finalists of the French cup and in the last 8 of the CL!! My nephew is French and lifelong Lyon fan, he was delighted and very mocking when Spurs spent all that money.


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