After his presentation as Tottenham’s manager at a seemingly distant point, another world on the space-time continuum namely November 2019, José Mourinho came with one of those freaks, an unusually imitated José-ism that never ceases to fascinate the media gaggle. which follows each step.
“Every club that I go to,” he said with a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, “I arrived, I was wearing club pajamas and I even slept in my pajamas. I work and I sleep in my tracksuits and pajamas. ”
The smile and sparkle in those eyes may have faded in the last few months, but it turns out he really meant what he said; he did everything in club colors.
On Tuesday afternoon, José stepped out with full tracks to Hadley Common, a pleasant green land on the pleasant outskirts of north London. With Tottenham, Watford and Arsenal training grounds nearby and mansions (think of Greek-false pillars and haphazard water features) lining the winding roads, Hadley is a prime location for those seeking sightings from players and / or Premier League managers who are less visible .
But José, on Tuesday, shouldn’t be seen there. Or at the very least, he shouldn’t be seen doing what he does.
Photos and videos that appeared on social media that afternoon showed Mourinho turned to Tanguy Ndombelé and two other players in purple leggings, beating Nike, sandy cockerels, clearly and clearly mocking government regulations about social distance.
The club quickly moves to reprimand him. A spokesman was quoted by the Guardian as saying; “All our players have been reminded to respect social distance when exercising outdoors. We will continue to strengthen this message. ”
Mourinho now admits he was wrong in leading a group training session in the midst of a global pandemic (which raises the question: didn’t you think of that before, José?) And apologized. “It is very important that we all play our part and follow the government’s advice to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives,” he said. Yes enough.
The problem is, no apology will now cancel the damage. For Spurs, this is another unfortunate episode to add to the growing list.
When football was arrested more than three weeks ago, it seemed like a pause might come at the right time for Tottenham. They sank into a crisis on the pitch, were kicked out of Europe by RB Leipzig, beaten with a penalty by Norwich in the FA Cup and limped to a draw with Burnley. Mourinho called on his players – Ndombele, the most famous – and himself was criticized in the media.
Rest, perhaps, will give them time to gather their thoughts and regroup, and give Harry Kane and Heung-min Son time to recover from injury.
But over the past ten days, even without the ball being kicked in anger, that image of the institution in chaos has only increased. Everyone, apparently, is moving in a different direction. That’s not a good sign when things return to a vague state resembling the normality that we used to.
The first time their captain came, Harry Kane admitted that his love for Spurs was not without conditions. In live chat on social media, he put fear in the gods by saying, “If I don’t feel we are going forward as a team or going in the right direction, I’m not someone who lives there for that. For that sake.”
Next up was Daniel Levy’s decision to cut the wages of all 550 Tottenham non-playing staff by 20% and put some of them on the British government leave scheme, saying that it was necessary to safeguard the club’s finances in view of the delay in playing squad. in agreeing to a reduction in wages. Levy’s actions and accompanying statements were widely criticized in the British press, and rightly so.
Finally, Mourinho’s mistake; a mistake that is so conspicuous that you really have to question whether he wants to be caught doing something stupid. If that’s the problem, then why?
Does he want to show fans and the club hierarchy that he and his players are still working hard? The fact that he chose Tanguy Ndombele who was overweight to violate quarantine rules would support that theory. Or is it one of Mourinho’s tactics that we witnessed behind his reign as Manchester United manager; loud and not too subtle public cry for the club to fire him?
Whatever the case, the atmosphere around the Hotspur Way will not be the most comfortable home when Spurs regroup after the coronavirus crisis has subsided. Support staff, who return after deducting wages, will hate the directors, who will blame the greedy players, who are criticized by the errant manager, who have made Daniel Levy unhappy and maybe even looking for the sack.
From the promise of spells to resting, regrouping and rearranging, this period of delay has now become a damage-limiting exercise for Tottenham officials. But of course the damage is already too big to have a lasting impact.