This is a season like no other, and for Jose Mourinho it perfectly shows the lack of time for preparation he has been given to work with his Tottenham Hotspur players.
One thing the Portuguese has been known for for years is drilling their teams on the range to be fully prepared to take advantage of their opponent’s weaknesses each week.
However, the frantic nature of Tottenham’s season, with the campaign starting later than normal and the amount of schedules the North London club had to fit into all the competitions, produced one remarkable fact.
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Since the season began, Mourinho has not had a full week, with no interruptions in the middle of the week, to work with his team on the field ahead of Premier League preparations until the upcoming game against his old Manchester United team this Sunday.
It’s been a long time since Mourinho had a full week to work with his players without a midfield game or an international break that didn’t bother him.
Actually Tottenham had just one more Premier League game in the whole season, where the head coach had almost a week between games, but that was a big warning.
Even then, not a week had passed — six days between the games against the Wolves and Leeds — and on top of that there was a break in how the Spurs believed, until just hours before the start, that they would face Fulham in the middle of the week before that match was canceled due to the outbreak of Covid in the Cottagers camp.
That meant Mourinho spent half a week preparing his players to meet a different team in Fulham, not Leeds. All Tottenham players were sitting in the Hotspur Way training center, ready to board the bus for Craven Cottage before the Premier League made a very late decision.
All of this means that other than equalizing the FA Cup at Wycombe Mourinho has never had a full seven days to prepare and work with players for a game this season until this one.
The Spurs have won both games against Leeds and Wycombe with little difficulty, and Mourinho will be looking for this rare opportunity to fully prepare his team for a visit to United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has no luxury of a full week to focus on Tottenham while United travel to Spain to play on Thursday night in Granada in the Europa League.
Mourinho has received a fair share of criticism this season, but could point to a lack of preparation for some disappointing performances.
This very unusual season has brought a schedule of games for everyone, but the Spurs have had a particularly difficult situation so far, and it is up to Mourinho to show what he can do with time to prepare properly.