Neil Humphreys: Five areas Jose Mourinho needs to address at Spurs
After Tottenham hired arguably the wrong manager for the wrong club, our columnist examines what Mourinho needs to do to pull off a Spurs miracle
1. CONVINCE SULKY ONES TO STAY
It's not just Jose Mourinho. Many managers emphasise the cyclical nature of a dressing room, which is usually around three to five years.
Players are groomed, reach a peak and win silverware or they manipulate a move to a club where they will win trophies.
Mauricio Pochettino hit that plateau and paid the price.
Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld indulged in the kind of internal plotting that once brought down Roman emperors.
Rose undermined Pochettino's authority, so his mission has been accomplished. Expect a fullback resurrection.
And Mourinho reveres dependable centre-back pairings.
For three years, he lamented their absence at Manchester United, and was eager to sign a bloke called Alderweireld.
Now he has the 30-year-old, alongside his Belgian colleague, Vertonghen, 32.
Mourinho finally has the experienced duo that he has craved for years.
Age is not on their side.
But Mourinho treats young players with the kind of disdain reserved for the mess dogs leave on pavements.
He prefers his defenders to be older, tougher and telepathic.
He simply cannot build a dour side without experienced centre-backs.
Creative midfielders on the other hand…
2. KICK-START ERIKSEN OR KICK HIM OUT
Christian Eriksen does not need a list of reasons to stop his one-man protest and return to work.
A roll call would do.
If Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and even Marcus Rashford are together in a WhatsApp group, the group's name would be "We Hate Jose".
Mourinho will recognise Eriksen's temperament and struggle to contain his recent indifference. The control freak has little patience with the uncontrollable.
Eriksen might as well be wearing a scapegoat sign.
At 27, the Dane's value depreciates as long as his petulance endures, an intolerable situation for both Mourinho and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, who treats every pound lost for a potential sale like a lost limb.
Since Mourinho is unlikely to be given any cash for the January transfer window, he will need to generate his own.
Eriksen will get until Christmas to re-establish his Spurs career and then the miserable one will discover what a real Grinch looks like.
3. MAKE KEY DECISION ON KANE
Harry Kane will make or break Mourinho's Tottenham tenure, so let's deal with the 200 million elephants in the room.
Kane comes with a £200 million (S$351.6 million) price tag and turns 27 next year.
The price will not be right for much longer and Levy sacked Pochettino for financial reasons.
Forget whimsical notions of stale football and Danish dynamos going off the boil.
Levy's stadium rebuild depends upon regular Champions League football.
Missing out is a financial hit that Levy does not want to contemplate, hence Pochettino's panicky sacking.
Selling Kane would offer a Band-Aid for at least a season or so, plus a chance to buy premium replacements.
However, Mourinho remains one of the few elite managers wedded to the nostalgic imagery of a big man up front.
At Chelsea, Didier Drogba defined a generation of totemic No.9s, and he was built in Mourinho's image.
Kane is one of the best No.9s around and too good for Tottenham. Mourinho will insist on keeping him.
He's likely to build a team around Kane and rely on Dele Alli and Harry Winks to feed him at every opportunity.
Whatever happens, the next stage in Kane's career will also define Mourinho's time at Tottenham.
4. WALK THE TALK
In recent years, Mourinho's decline was measured in more than results and trophies.
He had lost the knack for improving players.
By the pragmatist's own admission, there's no grand Pep Guardiola-like "project", no Louis van Gaal "philosophy" or Juergen Klopp "style", there's just a regimented game-by-game approach.
The classic Mourinho quick-fix lacks the patience to nurture players.
He buys the finished article, plugs holes and moves on.
As a result, his United players stagnated. Hardly any improved.
But Tottenham's regular top-four finishes under Pochettino were a tribute to his piecemeal youth development.
Ryan Sessegnon, 19, Davinson Sanchez, 23, Juan Foyth, 21, Winks, 23, Giovani Lo Celso, 23, and Tanguy Ndombele, 22, either signed for Pochettino because of his proven track record with guiding young players, or he promoted them from within the academy.
Mourinho doesn't typically do either. That must change.
He said he was keen on Tottenham's youth. It is time to prove it.
5. NOT SAFE TO PLAY SAFE
Mourinho's Red Devils produced the stodgiest football witnessed at Old Trafford in a generation.
Pochettino's Tottenham reached the Champions League final in exciting fashion.
Mourinho must update his style of play if he is to avoid looking like an analogue manager in a digital world.
His common lament at United was a lack of talent.
He now has a superior back four behind the likes of Kane, Alli, Eriksen, Winks, Son Heung Min, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko.
He has no excuses to play it safe.
A better starting XI presents Mourinho with a better starting point.
The endgame must be an entertaining spectacle rather than a remedy for insomnia.