Jose Mourinho to face a season-defining set of games at Tottenham
Jose Mourinho and Tottenham have failed to take advantage of the teams slipping around them. The club have lost two back-to-back games against direct rivals for the top four and find themselves five points adrift of the final Champions League spot now.
The return leg at Leipzig too will prove to be a daunting task given the difference in quality Julian Nagelsmann’s side displayed in North London.
The mini-revival generated by Mourinho looks to have fizzled out as Spurs have showcased the same deficiencies displayed before the Portuguese’s appointment. The season now hinges on four games in ten days as Tottenham take part in three different competitions.
Depending on the results, we could still be alive in all three or trying to salvage what we can from one.
It’s imperative that the players turn up and produce a performance that the fans can be proud of. Too long have we relied on individual flashes of brilliance and luck.
We take a look at the four games we face in the quest to rescue our season.
1. Norwich City (FA Cup) (Home)
Handed what looks like an easy tie in the fifth round, Norwich could turn out to be Tottenham’s poisoned chalice. The Canaries have played well in both the Premier League fixtures against us and ran us close on both occasions.
The fact that we took four points out of six has more to do with their lack of cutting edge than us rising to the challenge. It is debatable how serious Norwich will take the FA Cup given their struggle to escape relegation.
Norwich can be considered as the best team ever to find themselves at the bottom of the table. They have played true to their philosophy and have troubled a number of teams. You can’t help but imagine if they could have done better had they taken their chances.
The Canaries will go into the game with confidence after beating high flying Leicester City in their last outing.
It is also a must-win game for Tottenham for whom the competition reserves the best chance of winning a trophy this season. A loss here at home would prove catastrophic both to our chances for a strong finish while also delivering a blow to morale.
2. Burnley (EPL) (Away)
Mourinho’s first game in charge of Tottenham where the side dominated from start to finish. It was a promising performance after half a season of underwhelming ones. Now Spurs will return to face the same team without three players who scored four of the goals that night.
Burnley have also hit form and are unbeaten in their last five league games. These include wins over Leicester City, Manchester United and a draw against Arsenal.
They have unconsciously risen to the ninth spot in the table and could leap log us if they defeat us. The Clarets have got their scoring shoes back and have scored nine times in their last five games. It is worrying considering how unsure Tottenham have been at the back.
Turf Moor is a hard place to go get a win and the players will have to be up to show their quality and come away with three points.
3. RB Leipzig (ECL) (Away)
Tottenham were handed a footballing lesson in the first leg. The tie would effectively have been over had it not been for the Germans’ profligacy and Hugo Lloris’s heroics.
Leipzig cut through the Tottenham defence at will while Spurs struggled to find their way through what was effectively an injury-hit backline. With no striker to lead our line, we will also have to contend with the return of Dayot Upamecano from suspension.
The match will be a tough one for Spurs and Leipzig will o at us from the kickoff. Tottenham needs to channel the spirit of the comeback against Ajax and believe they can do it once again.
1-0 is by no means an unassailable lead and this Tottenham team have already managed it once before, on that famous night in Ajax.
4. Manchester United (EPL) (Home)
A potential six-pointer in the chase for fourth. The game have the added glamour of Mourinho getting one back at his former club. Tottenham fans, however, will only be keen on the three points against a direct rival.
United have blown hot and cold under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. They have however been able to step up their game against the top sides and could do once again.
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A double by Marcus Rashford ensured United got the bragging rights in the reverse fixture and Mourinho will be keen to have the last laugh. A crucial game for both sides, this one is likely to be hard-fought.