Is Jose now a drama queen
He's now more of a soap star than a top Premier manager
THE secrets of a sporting dressing room are rarely exposed. That rule is set to be shattered in brutal fashion as Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur offer up some unmissable TV viewing tomorrow night.
After the Netflix film ‘The Last Dance’ attracted huge audiences as it charted the Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls story, a documentary entitled ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ hits our screens tomorrow night and it is worth watching.
Featuring an A-list cast in a season that started with Mauricio Pochettino leading Tottenham and ended with Jose Mourinho sprinkling his unique brand of man-management on star names like Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris, this is not the film Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would have imagined when he gave the green light to this contentious project.
It is believed the idea was not popular among some of the club’s players. Footballers would never volunteer to have cameras at their training ground every day, filming their lunch-table conversations or dressing-room meltdowns, but that is precisely what we get in abundance in this nine-part tale of woe.
This Tottenham story is very different from Manchester City’s Amazon documentary from a couple of seasons back, as that film charted their progress through a 2017/18 season that ended with Pep Guardiola’s men winning the title and clinching 100 points in the process.
This Spurs version offers a very different tale, as it tells the story of a team struggling to bounce back from defeat in last season’s Champions League final against Liverpool and the arrival of serial winner and professional attention- seeker, Mourinho, to replace their beloved manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Even if you have little or no interest in Tottenham’s fortunes, the insight into how Mourinho talks to his players makes this a fascinating series, with his private conversations with star players and his dressing-room rants captured in glorious technicolour.
Cameras capture the moment when he angrily turns off the TV in his new office at the Spurs training ground as a Sky Sports analyst questions whether he is ‘past his best’, with Mourinho muttering ‘f*** off’ as he disappears out of shot.
Then there is his condemnation of midfielder Alli, as he describes the England midfielder as ‘a terrible trainer’ in a conversation with chairman Levy.
And that’s before we see him confront the player and ask him whether he is too much of a ‘party boy’ to be a top player. “I already told Dele very directly that he doesn’t train well, he is not a good trainer,” Mourinho is seen saying.
“Sir Alex Ferguson gave me only one bit of advice in two and a half years: Buy Dele Alli. He said: ‘That guy, with that mentality, the way he plays, the aggression he has in mind.
This guy is a Manchester United player. Buy Dele Alli’. And Ferguson has an eye for a player, but he is not a good trainer. We need to find motivation for this guy.”
Mourinho’s meeting with Kane makes for compelling viewing as he suggests the England captain will realise all his ambitions at Tottenham if he follows his lead.
Yet there is a feeling throughout that the Spurs players are suspicious of a manager whose stunning CV has been tarnished by his sackings at Chelsea and Manchester United.
Three-time Premier League title winner Mourinho has won more trophies in his own career than Tottenham has won in its entire history, but his reputation as a manager who struggles to build relationships with players now goes before him – and it will not be enhanced by this documentary.
Some of Mourinho’s colourful prematch and post-match rants are met with bemused looks by Tottenham players, who failed to win the games that mattered in their season as they failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in five years.
Yet the Mourinho we see on camera does not offer up too many surprises, as he speaks about himself and his own achievements, time and again, in an effort to convince the Spurs players that the Jose way will end their own wait for silverware.
We see him mocking defender Davinson Sanchez for being part of an Ajax team that he claims ‘s*** themselves’ against Mourinho’s Manchester United in the 2017 Europa League final, with Jose claiming, ‘I won the final in the first minute’ as he takes all the credit for his most recent trophy triumph.
Status This is the Mourinho mantra and even if this project was designed to highlight Tottenham’s status as one of the rising forces of European football, that ambition was shattered as soon as Mourinho was added to the cast as a late addition.
“People don’t understand the dimension of our job,” states Mourinho, as he is asked to sum up the role of a manager in the modern game in one of his more humble moments.
“We are just the face of a structure. Of course, we need to manage not just the players– but all the structure that you have around.
“In modern football, the evolution in sport science and in terms of the organisation at the club is huge and you are just the face of it.
“Without top players and a great structure, there are no top managers. We are just the face of the project.”
Tottenham’s hierarchy may have hoped to project themselves to a worldwide audience with this documentary, yet the end result is a soap opera based around a star name who was not expected to be part of the running order.
This has become the Jose Mourinho show. No football fan should miss it. *All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur premieres on Amazon Prime tomorrow night.