1:36 Jamie Redknapp says Mourinho and Daniel Levy are football’s ‘odd couple’ and will have to adapt to work together
6. Deal with contract rebels
One of the biggest issues for Pochettino was that three of his key players — Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen — were allowed to enter the final years of their contracts. It impacted squad harmony and it seemed he was never quite sure whether to use them or not.
Mourinho must decide whether he sees the trio as part of his plans. If he does, the challenge will be to convince them to extend their contracts and end the uncertainty surrounding their futures. Mourinho is a known admirer of Alderweireld having wanted him at Manchester United, but does he still feel the same way? And what does he make of Danny Rose? The full-back, whose contract expires in 2021, is another player whose future needs sorting out.
7. Win a trophy
For all Tottenham’s progress under Pochettino, there was never any silverware to show for it. They went close, of course, suffering heartbreak in the Champions League final in June, but the 2007/08 League Cup remains the club’s only trophy of the last 20 years.
Changing that is likely to be Mourinho’s No 1 priority. His managerial CV features no fewer than 25 trophy wins — starting at Porto, where he won his first Champions League, and continuing up until Manchester United, who he steered to Europa League success. Expect him to throw everything at the Champions League and FA Cup this season.
8. Rebuild squad on a budget
Mourinho has been promised funds to strengthen the squad in January and in the summer, but Tottenham’s stadium debts are such that he is unlikely to get the level of financial backing he has received at previous clubs. His net spend of £317m at Manchester United was nearly three times as high as Tottenham’s across Pochettino’s entire tenure.
Mourinho has talked up the squad — even mentioning the quality inside the club’s academy — but privately he will be aware that there is work to be done on a defence which has shipped as many goals as Brighton’s this season, and an attack which is overly-reliant on Harry Kane. This time, however, he will have to choose his targets knowing the transfer pot is limited.
9. Get new signings up to speed
The squad still needs work, but Mourinho is inheriting three new signings of considerable potential in Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon. The trio, who arrived at a combined cost of £140m, will need to be brought up to speed quickly. Mourinho will be relieved that Lo Celso and Sessegnon have recently put their injury problems behind them.
10. Buy into the project
For all the urgency of Tottenham’s current predicament, what’s perhaps most important is that Mourinho views this job as a long-term project rather than a short-term assignment. He has signed a three-and-a-half year contract at Spurs but he did not make it to the end of a third season in either of his last two jobs and has never made it to the end of a fourth.
Things tend to unravel with Mourinho, but he is taking over from a manager who has left a proud legacy at Spurs and his challenge is to do the same. Much will depend on his relations with Levy, but ultimately it’s down to Mourinho to ensure he does not fall into the same old traps.