Is the Special One on borrowed time at Spurs?

By Mariah Ramharack April 18, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

Jose Mourinho on borrowed time

Tottenham Hotspur has been struggling in the Premier League and there is speculation Jose Mourinho’s days at the club are numbered. Their 20/21 season has been atrocious and looks likely to miss out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season, having previously played in the competition four times in a row.

With six games left in the Premier League, Spurs are five points off fourth-placed West Ham. The team’s decline has been evident after its 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on January 28. They have lost seven of the following 14 Premier League games after that, they won five matches and drew two, conceding 21 goals, one less than they scored.

To make matters worse, Mourinho’s side exited the FA Cup in the fifth round with defeat at Everton and then collapsed in Croatia throwing away a 2-0 first-leg lead to lose 3-2 on aggregate at Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

What is clear is that Mourinho is failing to get the best out of his players. When asked about his team’s poor run his response, “Same coach, different players”, suggests that there is also discontent in the dressing room.

Paul Pogba, who was Mourinho’s world-record marquee signing following his 2016 appointment at Old Trafford accused the former Manchester United manager of casting players, including himself, aside without explanation.

Former English footballer Danny Mills claimed that Jose Mourinho is preoccupied with protecting Tottenham’s backline and it has affected his selection decisions farther up the pitch.

 “Mourinho has continued to chop and change his centre-back partnerships over the last few months, with all of Tottenham’s centre-halves being guilty of some poor mistakes at the back,” Mills opined.

As of now, it seems the Special One is not that special anymore.

 

Time for Harry Kane to win a Premier League title

Despite Tottenham Hotspur’s woes Harry Kane continues to stand out for his club. He is currently the leading goal scorer for the Premier League but is yet to win a title. He’s now scored 20 or more league goals in five different seasons, a feat accomplished only by Alan Shearer, Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry.

 Despite his productivity, it is unlikely that Kane will win a title at Spurs. They are not going to make the Champions League next season and nobody knows for sure what the future holds.

At age 28, Kane must make the move before it is too late. There will be clubs interested in signing him including the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, both good options.

  Manchester United needs a Europa League win

Manchester United is set to face Roma and is favourite to win the Europa League given the quality of their opponents and their form at this point in the season. United beat Granada 2-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday to complete a 4-0 aggregate success and set up a semi-final against Roma, who edged Ajax 3-2 on aggregate and are outsiders to lift the trophy.

United have not lifted silverware since 2017 but can end that drought if they are successful in the Europa League this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping to make it fifth-time lucky after United fell short in four semi-finals across last season and this.

United beat Ajax in the 2017-final in Sweden and to many, they are a better side now than they were then and have shown consistently this season that they have what it takes this season to beat some of the top teams in Europe.

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    Dejan Kulusevski believes Antonio Conte's coaching style has been critical in his personal improvement at Tottenham after stagnating with Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus.

    Kulusevski rose to prominence during the 2019-20 season when on loan at Parma from Atalanta, with his form in the first half of that campaign persuading Juve to spend €35million on him.

    Although he played 55 Serie A games for the Bianconeri after linking up with them ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, Kulusevski struggled to find the same prominence and consistency he enjoyed at Parma.

    Spurs struck a deal in January to take the Sweden international on loan for 18 months, and the agreement will become permanent for £29.2m (€32.6m) if certain sporting criteria are met.

    Kulusevski quickly made an impression – from the date of his signing until the end of the season, no player registered more assists than his eight in the Premier League, while Kevin De Bruyne (17), Son Heung-min (20) and Harry Kane (21) were the only three individuals to tally more goal involvements than the Swede's 13 over the same period.

    Similarly, his three assists this season is third to only De Bruyne (six) and Bukayo Saka (four) – he is finding his feet, and he does not think he could have found such comfort had he stayed at Juventus.

    "In football sometimes things simply go wrong. I have not changed anything about myself in recent months: mentally I went always to go on the pitch and gave my best.

    "At Juve, however, it didn't work beyond what I tried to do. I didn't feel great for so many different reasons and when you realise that things are not right, then it's difficult to reverse course by staying in the same environment.

    "So, the choice to leave Italy was the best I could have made in that situation.

    "In England I am great, everything is better than in Turin, both on and off the pitch. As I said, now I really always want to play football."

    Kulusevski has no doubt what the key difference is: Conte.

    While he did not want to disparage Allegri, Kulusevski feels he has reacted positively to Conte's demands, which have in turn got the best out of him.

    Asked if there was a big difference between Allegri and Conte, the winger said: "Honestly, yes.

    "I don't want to say that one is better than the other, because I have great respect for both Allegri and Conte and both have won a lot in their careers, but the job and the ideas of ​​football are completely different.

    "At Tottenham, you struggle a lot more in the gym and you can see the results. I can say that from Juve to Spurs, the world changed for me.

    "I have never met in my life, even outside of football, a motivated person like Antonio Conte. When he speaks to you, he enters your heart by force.

    "At Tottenham my body changed – mainly thanks to the exercises in the gym – in no time. We work a lot every day and better than I did in Italy.

    "I love how we train in London and for sure the credit goes to our coach: I'm very happy to play for him."

  • Rumour Has It: Man City and Foden reach agreement on new six-year £78m contract Rumour Has It: Man City and Foden reach agreement on new six-year £78m contract

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    ROUND-UP 

    Arsenal have moved on from Dusan Vlahovic , according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners are not interested in re-visiting a potential move for the Serbian who joined Juventus in January.

    Manchester United will dangle a five-year contract for striker Marcus Rashford as they look to tie him down long term, reports The Express. Rashford's current deal expires at the end of this season.

    – Calciomercato claims Alex Sandro will depart Juventus when his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Brazilian has previously attracted interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain .

    Romelu Lukaku has no plans to return to Chelsea when his season-long loan with Inter expires at the end of this season, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Chelsea are ready to pay £30million for Fulham's 17-year-old midfielder Luke Harris , claims The Mirror. Harris was called up to Wales' Nations League squad, but is yet to debut for the Cottagers.

    Liverpool and Arsenal are both considering a move next year for Villarreal's 21-year-old winger Alex Baena , reports the Daily Mirror.

  • Maguire criticism a 'disaster' – Matic defends former Man Utd team-mate Maguire criticism a 'disaster' – Matic defends former Man Utd team-mate

    Former Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic believes criticism of Harry Maguire has been over the top, likening it to a "disaster".

    United made Maguire the most expensive defender of all time when they signed him from Leicester City in 2019 and he quickly established himself as a key player, even becoming captain.

    But after a fairly promising first couple of years, Maguire's popularity among supporters has decreased significantly, with the England centre-back's performances routinely questioned last season.

    The situation turned particularly ugly in April when Maguire received a bomb threat to his home.

    Maguire was dropped by new manager Erik ten Hag after United lost their first two matches of the new Premier League season, but Matic – now at Roma – feels his former colleague has been treated dreadfully by the average fan on social media, suggesting the criticism comes from a place of jealousy.

    "What people are doing to him, it is a disaster," Matic told The Times.

    "Everything has to have limits and some of these people writing on social media, they don't have their own lives so they just have to write bad things about someone else."

    Individual criticism of Maguire over the past year or so has also come against a backdrop of flak aimed at the United team in general, as they slumped to a sixth-placed finish last season with their worst points total (58) in the Premier League era.

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    Matic provided a measured response, saying: "I have respect for what he has done but he needs to understand that football has changed.

    "If I played for Chelsea, I cannot say I hate them. I cannot be angry when I'm talking to the press after the game.

    "The way he behaved on pitch, 70 per cent of it is a red card today. You cannot throw a punch when all the cameras in the world are there.

    "The real hero is when you go out on the street and say something, but he was always very nice with me, so what he says in public, to be honest, I don't really care.

    "I know what I've done in my career and I'm very happy."

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