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.