The Humble One? Don’t fall for that — everything is still about Jose at Spurs

first_imgHE tried hard to convince us that it wasn’t all about him.Jose Mourinho’s entrance had been self-consciously coy, in-keeping with his affected humility since taking this job.4 Jose Mourinho went from panic to manic on the touchline as Tottenham completed a comeback from a two-goal deficitBut as Tottenham rescued a two-goal deficit and qualified for the Champions League knock-out stages, their new manager couldn’t help himself.First came the trademark brutal early substitution — the sort of thing a young Joe Cole used to have nightmares about at Chelsea — when Eric Dier was hauled off in the 29th minute with Spurs 2-0 down.Then came a wonderful example of Mourinho’s strange professional fixation with the ballboy community — as he high-fived and hugged the lad who swiftly fed Serge Aurier for the throw-in which led to Harry Kane’s equaliser.Mourinho, with his obsessions over fine margins, has an awful lot of history with the ballboys.He once told one of Crystal Palace’s retrievers he risked being punched by a player over his tardiness at returning the ball during a Chelsea defeat at Selhurst Park.And Leicester’s ballboys were once described as a ‘disgrace to the Premier League’ after another defeat.But while at Manchester United, the Special One felt the Old Trafford ball- retrieval team was too fast when his team were trying to run down the clock, and had them all replaced as a result.4 Jose Mourinho high-fived a ball boy after he tossed the ball back to the players before they scored a quick goalCredit: BT SportTottenham’s troupe, however, were like a rapid-response unit — and proved an instant hit for the new manager.When Spurs won a throw close to Mourinho’s dug-out, the nearest ballboy swiftly supplied Aurier for a quick throw to Lucas Moura, which wrong-footed the Olympiakos defence.The cross came in for Kane to steer home and make it 2-2 five minutes into the second half.Mourinho instantly high-fived the lad, embraced him and offered words of thanks.It was just the sort of endearing photo opportunity he’d have dreamt off as he attempted to win over a sceptical Spurs support during his first home match in charge.Jose Mourinho says he wanted to invite the heroic Spurs ballboy to the dressing room after the match but couldn’t find himBefore kick-off, there was no fanfare of any kind.There was no announcement of the Portuguese’s name over the PA system, no waving to the crowd, the new Tottenham manager simply slipped past a mob of photographers and sheepishly took his seat in the dug-out.The Spurs supporters did not sing his name, as they had done after the final whistle at West Ham.There was an Argentinian flag flying high behind him, in recognition of his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino and the odd placard thanking the sacked boss for the memories.Chairman Daniel Levy had timed the managerial change perfectly for Mourinho, with two fixtures he might have hand-picked.West Ham for a first Premier League away win, followed by Olmpiakos to secure qualification for the Champions League knock-out stage.4Yet this one didn’t turn out anything like as straightforward as we had imagined.Perhaps Mourinho and Spurs would have been better off making more of an occasion of his arrival, because the team started as if this was a friendly rather than a crunch European fixture.As a result, they were 2-0 down inside 19 minutes against the Group B whipping boys.First an attempted interception from Danny Rose — who is struggling for  confidence right now — fell to Youssef  El-Arabi, who went past a flailing Harry Winks and curled home powerfully from just outside area.Son Heung-min’s header from a Winks free-kick forced a fine save from Jose Sa.But then Spurs suffered a collective brain-fade as they attempted to defend a low corner and Ruben Semedo snuck in front of Toby Alderweireld to bundle it over the line.Mourinho, with a face like a slapped backside, immediately sent two of his subs to warm up.And before the half-hour, Dier was ruthlessly hooked to make way for Christian Eriksen.Jose Mourinho celebrates with Spurs ball boy after his quick thinking leads to Champions League equaliser4 Harry Kane put in a fine performance for Tottenham as Spurs qualified for the Champions League knock-out stagesCredit: ReutersSpurs had not looked like getting a foothold before they were gifted a goal in first-half injury-time.Aurier’s low centre was unthreatening but Yassine Meriah took an air-shot at it, leaving Dele Alli a simple task to score.Then came the Kane effort, with the assist from our heroic ballboy, before a thumping finish from Aurier and Kane’s glancing header from an Eriksen free-kick made sure of Tottenham’s progress.By the final whistle the place was buzzing. This is a theatre which feels perfect for the big European nights and Spurs may have a few more to look forward to this season now.Yet while Mourinho will mention his two Champions League triumphs approximately every 2½ minutes during the course of any conversation, it has been a decade since he last reached the final of this competition, with Inter Milan.He failed to do so with either Real Madrid, Manchester United or in his second spell at Chelsea.Like his old rival, Pep Guardiola, his Champions League record has become extremely modest in recent years.Jose Mourinho jokes about seeing his Olympiakos half-time team talk on the Amazon documentaryMOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticIT’S…NOT TOMMY BOWETommy Bowe discovers someone has been impersonating him on TinderMAC DADDYTriple H wants McGregor v McMahon with winner getting rights to billionaire strutHe knows that winning this thing is probably Tottenham’s best chance of qualifying for next season, with Spurs so far adrift of the Premier League’s top four — nine points as it stands.Spurs reached last season’s final, of course, and anything can happen in knock-out football.It certainly helps when the manager ensures that everybody at their club is right on their toes — even the ballboys.Tweet @davekidd_last_img

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