Jose Mourinho’s revival not borne of reinvention: Richard Buxton
Year of chaos seems to suit Tottenham manager's tough-love approach
Only Jose Mourinho could find joy from a year which has offered precious little of it.
As chaos continues to swirl around football, Tottenham Hotspur's manager exudes a strange sea of tranquillity in situations where his incendiary traits invariably come to life.
In another time, Mourinho would have placed himself front and centre of the disarray which engulfed one side of yesterday morning's (Singapore time) North London Derby.
Yet the "Special One" now occupies a rare position of being a casual observer when teams descend into meltdown, as Arsenal did in the 2-0 defeat by their local rivals.
Mikel Arteta's decision to push an injured Thomas Partey back onto the pitch, just as Spurs staged a counter-attack for Harry Kane to double their lead, could easily have been plucked from the playbook of Mourinho's various endgames at other clubs.
Arteta's ongoing demise in the Emirates Stadium hot seat is both an affront to the house that Arsene Wenger built and an insult to the philosophy studied at the knee of Pep Guardiola until 12 months ago - and the statistics against the Lilywhites prove it.
The Gunners enjoyed 69 per cent possession and amassed 44 crosses but never genuinely threatened Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Such dominance without any actual payoff is the stuff of nightmares for "tiki-taka" purists.
Mourinho's ability to put one over on Guardiola's acolyte - mere weeks after besting his Manchester City counterpart with minimal effort - is a sign that better times may be on the horizon, not solely for this corner of the English capital but also the man himself.
He is not reinvented or even changed, simply an older version of what the game has already seen in dispatches at myriad European clubs. All the hallmarks are there; from a regimented set-up reliant on its midfield enforcers to using animal-based analogies.
How long this latest reboot of Mourinho 2.0 lasts depends entirely on whether he can straddle the fine line between genius and insanity that has previously been his undoing.
Succeeding Mauricio Pochettino at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year became the ultimate salvation for the Portuguese, who was increasingly perceived to be a relic in elite-level coaching for a tough-love approach which seldom paid dividends.
Too often, Mourinho was guilty of alienating his talismans during initially successful yet ultimately combustible spells in charge of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United.
But investing in honing Kane's attributes promises to be an arguably greater personal triumph than potentially winning a fourth English Premier League title this season.
Nurturing the England captain has allowed him to right those past wrongs of mismanaging key players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba.
Kane not only leads the line for his boyhood club but is also an increasingly shining example.
His partnership with Son Heung-min is almost as telepathic as it is cutting edge, with the pair producing a combined 27 goals and 18 assists in all competitions.
Aligning the South Korea international with Tottenham's homegrown hero has led to 30 EPL goals, the most potent link-up since Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
Mourinho has stayed true to his word, captured for posterity in Amazon's fly-on-the-wall documentary, of helping Kane realise his true potential as one of football's "movie stars".
If they can keep this up, both of their names will be up in lights at the end of May.