When Tottenham fired Mauricio Pochettino and hired Jose Mourinho to replace him, it felt odd.
With that decision in the rear view mirror ,so to speak, one can appraise both positions to see where the chips have proverbially fallen. It shouldn’t take long to realize that few of those chips seem to have landed on north London.
Meanwhile Paris is finding success and might even bring the former Spurs boss to another Champions League final.
While PSG are in a domestic dogfight the likes of which they’re not accustomed to, everyone knows the marker is European glory. While that remains elusive, the man who brings it back to the city of lights will become a legend as will his players.
Jose Mourinho ,meanwhile, knows many things about being special. About transforming from a manager into a legend before the eyes of the world. But Spurs are simply not better since he replaced the current boss of Paris Saint-Germain and his recent firing is a testament to that.
Mourinho: Special, but no longer relevant; Pochettino remains a different story
No one can, or should deny, the greatness of Mourinho. To do so would be dishonest. Even the likes of Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger would agree. Yet he is no longer the best man for the job in the top leagues of European football.
He would do better in Portugal, the Netherlands, or perhaps in Italy, as has been suggested previously. If not a club coach, then perhaps a national team manager or a pundit.
He does not excite his players nor get the best out of them and his style has proven to be inadequate and frankly irrelevant. The vaunted defense of any Mourinho side was not present in this Tottenham team and while his offense can score at times, they cannot stop other teams and grow cold at the wrong moments.
Mauricio Pochettino, on the other hand, is a different story. Since he replaced Thomas Tuchel, who likely shouldn’t have been let go himself, as his work at Chelsea demonstrates, the Argentinian manager has learned his team well and has applied them with great purpose.
Neymar as a true No.10 is perfect as his vision is unmatched. Using Kylian Mbappe as a No. 9 is another common sense move as well, for he is a natural, a genius, a must watch with the football. His finishing is second to none and as demonstrated against Bayern in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, he cannot be stopped when he is feeling himself as he was in the snowy pitch of Bavaria.
Moise Kean has also demonstrated the talent which saw Juventus cash in with a transfer to Everton two summers ago. While it didn’t work out on Merseyside, it likely will be fortunate for the Toffees if PSG negotiate for his permanent transfer.
Should he remain on the team moving forward, alongside Mbappe, Paris will be one exciting outfit. The offense isn’t the entire story however.
The team is playing better defense as well. With Keylor Navas in goal, the team is well-balanced and should not be overlooked. While everyone understands the genius and seriousness of Tuchel, Pochettino is a bit more difficult to understand. He is a very very good coach yet doesn’t stamp about it as some of the greats have.
Pochettino has brought a bit of fun back into the PSG locker room alongside new thoughts, a new voice, and new strategy. These things are all important in building a relationship and the team itself. These are things that endear him and help him maximize the return he gets from his squad.
And while Mourinho has been famously well liked by many players, and has quite the personality, I’m not sure he inspires the same from his players. We have all heard for years his tendency to freeze players out and alienate others for no apparent reason.
While Arsenal need to win the Europa League, Tottenham had to as well. Had they remained in contention, the Special One might still be managing in north London. They still have a reasonable chance of finishing in the top six in the Premier League. Without that there will be no European football next season.
What a blow that would be for both Tottenham. The ego of Jose Mourinho is already in tatters. While that continues unfolding, Pochettino will likely feel quite vindicated in this entire saga. He was fired and failed upwards to PSG. Yet he was no failure at Tottenham, simply a victim of circumstances at a club that desperately needs a trophy of any sort. That is not the issue in Paris however, and while he can count on yearly domestic hardware in Ligue 1, he will continue to have his eyes set on the prize that eluded him in England, the Champions League. That would absolutely be a special one for both the club and boss.