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Looking Ahead: Mourinho’s first 10 games

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Tottenham’s stunning week continued on Wednesday with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Taking in his first day of training, Mourinho can now get to grips with not only his squad, but what’s ahead for Spurs. Here’s a look at what Mourinho will be up against in the next two months.

[READ: 5 things Mourinho must do at Tottenham]


Game 1: Tottenham at West Ham, Saturday, Premier League

Mourinho’s first game in charge is a London derby, which is a pretty tough way to start life at the club. Coming on the road, you can expect a packed house, tons of media attention, and possibly a re-energized squad. That’s what Mourinho will be hoping for, anyways.

Sebastian Haller has struggled recently, and with just four goals in 11 Premier League games, he could be looking at this matchup as a way to get back on the scoresheet. It will be up to Mourinho to re-organize a want-away defense.

Game 2: Tottenham v. Olympiakos, Nov. 26, UEFA Champions League

Game 3: Tottenham v. Bournemouth, Nov. 30, Premier League

Game 4: Tottenham at Manchester United, Dec. 4, Premier League

Mourinho only has to wait three weeks before his first trip back to Old Trafford. Even though it’s coming soon, it’s not a guarantee that it will be Mourinho v. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is under a lot of pressure himself. Things haven’t improved at Man United much since Mourinho was sacked, and a win for him on the road would be the kind of grudge match he lives for.

Game 5: Tottenham v. Burnley, Dec. 7, Premier League

Game 6: Tottenham at Bayern Munich, Dec. 11, Champions League

If the Champions League stopped today, passed Go and went directly to the knockout rounds, Tottenham would be in. Despite all the Premier League troubles, Spurs have done well enough to stay ahead of Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos in the standings. Should Tottenham beat Olympiakos in November, and Red Star loses to Bayern Munich, it will be set. However, if Tottenham hasn’t secured a place in the knockout round by then, it may need a result against Bayern at home. That will be one of Mourinho’s biggest tasks moving forward.

Game 7: Tottenham at Wolves, Dec. 15, Premier League

Game 8: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Dec. 22, Premier League

Tottenham opens the busy holiday period against Mourinho’s other Premier League former club, and the place where he made his name in England. At this point, Mourinho will have been with Tottenham for an entire month and if things are going well, Tottenham could challenge Chelsea in this match. If Tottenham remain at its current level, Chelsea could certainly win a match like this on the road at the new White Hart Lane. Another side plot will be Mourinho facing his former star midfielder, Frank Lampard.

Game 9: Tottenham v. Brighton and Hove Albion, Dec. 26, Premier League

Game 10: Tottenham at Norwich City, Dec. 28, Premier League

Mourinho will have to navigate some tough matches, including big six derbies against Chelsea and Man United, plus a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, it certainly could have been worse for Tottenham. Spurs has five home games, along with matches against Burnley, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Despite 10 games in the rest of 2019, and a busy holiday period, Mourinho has a shot to turn Spurs’ season around and put them in contention for fourth place by May.

Men In Blazers podcast: Perfect Pep, Chelsea-Liverpool, more

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Chelsea and Wayne Rooney: Is this what England missed about José Mourinho?

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If this wasn’t England — if one of the country’s favorite managers wasn’t returning home — would a coach be able to publicly tap up a player the way José Mourinho has Wayne Rooney? Be it the Chelsea boss calling Rooney turning “likes” into a double entendre or hinting a diminished club role for the Manchester United star would be bad for England (an overt plea to the press’s nationalism), it’s unlikely Mourinho would be allowed to use the press like this in Italy or Spain. His comments would be published and dissected, all of his potential motives laid bare as the press debated his professionalism. No wonder Mourinho has such an affinity for England.

It’s probably a good thing that the returning Chelsea boss is getting a pass. We tend to take everything a coach or player takes far too seriously. So what if Mourinho says Rooney’s a good player? As David Moyes pointed out shortly after, managers are usually supposed to refrain from speaking about other teams’ talent, but when you’re talking about a player of Rooney’s stature, it’s really not a big deal. Nobody’s learning anything new. And the idea England will be hurt if Rooney’s not first choice at Manchester United? Honestly, who cares, especially in the context of the Premier League? Even if he’s not part of Moyes’ selection for big games, Rooney’s not going to lack for playing time.

In that sense, it’d be nice if the press gave everybody the same leash they’re giving Mourinho. We’d certainly get a lot more entertainment out of Arsène Wenger, Paolo Di Canio, Mark Hughes and Sam Allardyce if they were given license to fire off at any time on any thing. That aren’t exemplifies the strange sycophancy the press has developed toward Mourinho. He’s a brilliant quote, great coach, and particularly when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004, he was a breath of platitude-slicing fresh air. Now, though, his novelty has expired, and while he’s still providing us with more information than any other manager, there’s no reason to continue paying rhetorical tribute at the Special One’s alter.

This is, however, the Mourinho what we’ve missed the last six years. We’ve missed him tapping up players, taking shots at his peers, conjuring obscure metaphors to give new life to the same responses, giving beat reporters something new to hand into the editors hours later. We’ve missed the unabashed confidence, the honest assessments in the tunnel post-match, an a willingness to step into the spotlight, win or lose.

And exchange for all that, to get all that back in the Premier League, the press are willing to let Mourinho play games with Manchester United and Wayne Rooney. They’re willing to clear the stage for a reboot of Special1TV. It may not be how other managers go about their business, but it’s far more entertaining.

Mourinho infuriated MLS target Kaka with sale restrictions

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No wonder Mourinho had troubles with the players during his time at the Bernabeu.

Spanish media outfit AS has published a report saying that last season, while Jose Mourinho was in charge at Real Madrid, Manchester United and AC Milan both submitted bids for Kaka, but they were immediately rejected by Mourinho.

The boss had apparently told the Brazilian legend he would only sanction a move away from Europe, to China or Russia for example.

This enraged Kaka, who would like to make the Brazilian 2014 World Cup squad and therefore wanted to keep his level of play at a high level, something a move out of Europe would most likely not allow.

The 31-year-old barely played at Real Madrid as well, having made just 27 appearances over all competitions last season, and sitting in many of the most important matches.

AS quotes a source close to Kaka as saying, “Mourinho did not want him at the club and wanted to use him as a bargaining chip, but was afraid to send him elsewhere in Europe under a big suspicion that he would succeed. He wanted to sell to Russia or China, but Kaka did not want to go there.”  The source also claimed Mourinho “boycotted” Kaka last season on the pitch.

The report also quotes another source that “there was never a fight or argument between Kaka and Mou, but the relationship was not good.” Not surprising.

With Kaka reportedly considering a move to Major League Soccer when his contract with Madrid runs out, he is also apparently ruled out a move home to Brazil, with reports of Sao Paolo or Flamengo in the mix for his signature.

Chelsea are making José Mourinho a staggeringly well-compensated manager

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After what he called the worst year of his managerial career, José Mourinho is getting a raise, not that many care. At Real Madrid, he was already the world’s highest-paid coach, something few may know given how little we dwell on non-player wages.

With players, we care about the fees and the salaries, often tying that to ticket prices, television contracts, and the club’s overall spending. We rarely do the same for coaches or executives, though given how much Mourinho will make over the next four years, we probably should.

Mourinho was pulling in over $15 million per season to manage the Merengues, a figure that will get a noticeable bump after he returns to West London.. If The Times of London’s reporting  is correct, the soon-to-be re-Chelsea’d boss will earn closer to $19 million per year in his return to Stamford Bridge.

As relayed from Business Week, The Times is reporting Mourinho’s new deal will be worth £50 million over four years, or around $75-76 million dollars. England’s tax rate takes a big chunk out of that, but even after giving around $6 million to the crown, Mourinho will pocket well over $12 million per year. That keeps him well ahead of Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo Lippi and Guus Hiddink as the highest paid coaches in world soccer.

To put that in perspective, let’s go back in time, all the way back to our previous post about an hour ago. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the elite talents in the world’s game, is making around $18 million per year. It’s a bit of a loaded comparison, given “Ibra” is having all his taxes covered by PSG, but it does provide some perspective. Expect for the ultra right-end, point-one percenters in the player market, José Mourinho is making more than anybody in the game.

So it goes without saying Mourinho, after he’s allowed to leave Real Madrid this week, will become the highest-paid coach in the history of the Premier League, a status that would normally lead to high expectations and huge accountability. Despite a trophy-less season that ended in a Copa del Rey flameout, the Portuguese boss will be tasked with recreating the magic that won Chelsea two Premier League titles after his 2004 arrival.

With The Special One, those expectations were always going to be in place, regardless the cost. Yet whereas sums like “Torres, £50 million” are tossed around frequently when evaluating players, don’t expect Mourinho’s price to be thrown back in his face. For the most part, we don’t care how much clubs are paying their coaches.