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Jose Mourinho: Tottenham’s new manager has five early issues to deal with

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho took training on Wednesday, the day of his appointment

Deciding who to play, who to phase out and who to keep on side – just some of Jose Mourinho’s key early questions to answer at Tottenham.

Holding midfielder Eric Dier may well find himself in favour under Mourinho, who reportedly tried to sign him for Manchester United.

In fact Pochettino thought Dier, who was raised in Portugal, was disrespectful when he had a friendly conversation in Portuguese with Mourinho after a game in 2016.

Dier has only played three Premier League games for Spurs this season, including Pochettino’s last game against Sheffield United – when he was played out of position at centre-back. Another central midfielder, Victor Wanyama, who has managed just 113 minutes this season, may have similar hopes of finding favour again.

So too might Brazil forward Lucas Moura, the Champions League semi-final hat-trick hero against Ajax last season, who has only started four league games this season – with two of those coming back in August.

Gambling on a new McTominay or Adan

Scott McTominay
Scott McTominay was not well known outside Manchester United circles before Jose Mourinho put his faith in him

Mourinho is never afraid to make big decisions – sometimes ones that fly in the face of all logic. Some make sense in hindsight, others not so much.

For a league game against Malaga in December 2012, Mourinho dropped Real Madrid’s legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who was only 31 at the time, and instead played the relatively unremarkable Antonio Adan.

Adan also started the next game – but was sent off, so Casillas won his place back. A month later Casillas fractured his hand and when he had recovered he could not win his place back from new signing Diego Lopez, a keeper of a similar age who has never been considered world class.

Then at Manchester United he picked young midfielder Scott McTominay, who had only played 204 minutes in the Premier League all season, above £89m signing Paul Pogba for a Champions League knockout game against Sevilla in February 2018.

In hindsight that was one of his better decisions at United, with the 22-year-old now one of their most consistent players. That said, it is probably best not to mention him picking McTominay at centre-back the following season in a 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

So what similar surprise decisions could he make at Spurs? Michel Vorm as number one? Drop Harry Kane and play Irish teenager Troy Parrott instead? Harry Winks at the heart of defence? We may find out on Saturday.

Keeping up his good record in opening games

The three ways Jose Mourinho can win over Spurs fans

Pochettino was much loved at Tottenham, so Mourinho is going to need a quick start to get fans on his side. They will want attacking football, but at the very least they will expect to move up the table from 14th position.

He has not lost his opening game at any club since his very first match as a manager, when Benfica lost to Boavista in September 2000.

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge of each club he has managed – all were in the league bar Inter Milan (an Italian Super Cup penalty shootout win over Roma) and Manchester United (a Community Shield win over Leicester)

Since then he has won his opening match with Porto, Chelsea – twice – and Manchester United, and drawn at the start of his time with Uniao de Leiria, Inter Milan (although they won on penalties) and Real Madrid.

However, this is the first time since taking over Porto in January 2002 that he has joined a club during a season.

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