Jose Mourinho maintained a low profile after being fired by Manchester United last December. But after a year among the unemployed, Mourinho is making noise again, now as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.
In his first week with Spurs, Mourinho guided them to a 3-2 victory over West Ham United, then a 4-2 home win over Olympiacos in a Champions League match Tuesday. Tottenham rallied from a two-goal deficit against Olympiacos, Harry Kane scoring twice, including the equalizer after a quick throw-in, aided by a ball boy. After the goal, Mourinho left the bench area to high-five the ball boy, who had enabled Serge Aurier to catch Olympiacos defenders off-guard.
“I love intelligent ball boys,” Mourinho said. “I was a great ball boy and he was brilliant. He reads the game, he understands the game, and he made an assist, an important assist.”
Mourinho has had difficulty remaining low-key, but he has tried, knowing he would face resistance from Spurs supporters after managing rival Chelsea. He contended that his often arrogant appearance had been misinterpreted.
‘’I am humble, I am humble enough to try to analyze my career,” Mourinho said last week. ”I was always humble. The problem was that you didn’t understand that. I was always humble but it was in my way.”
Possibly, Mourinho had been deflated by his experience with Manchester United, which ended with the Red Devils struggling after he had guided them to the Europa League, League Cup, and Charity Cup titles in 2017. Mourinho said that year had been had been his best as a coach and, judging by the performance of Manchester United since then, he could have been right.
Tottenham, which lost to Liverpool in the Champions League final last season, could develop into an excellent opportunity for Mourinho, especially if he can convince chairman Daniel Levy to spend on transfers. Predecessor Mauricio Pochettino had to go through last season without funds for new players, while Levy paid for a new stadium.
Mourinho said he will not need to sign any newcomers, but a report noted he has advised Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes to have Benfica defender Ruben Dias and Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes available.
Mourinho’s tenure has started well, but things could get tricky. Spurs play host to Bournemouth Saturday, then visit Manchester United Dec. 4. Their next Champions League match will be at Bayern Munich Dec. 11.
On the day of the first MLS Cup, a torrential downpour led to the cancellation of several activities, including the Head of the Charles, the only time the regatta has not proceeded as scheduled. But D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy played through the storm, United taking a 3-2 golden goal victory at Foxboro Stadium on Oct. 20, 1996.
The game provided a dramatic conclusion to the league’s first season, current Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena capturing the first of five MLS Cup titles.
Arena mentored several coaches-to-be, and some who played in that first MLS Cup have joined him with the Revolution: technical director Curt Onalfo; assistant coach Richie Williams; and recently named Revolution II coach Clint Peay. Onalfo competed for the Galaxy, along with Chris Armas (New York Red Bulls), Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids), and Greg Vanney (Toronto FC). Future Revolution midfielder John Harkes (Greenville Triumph) also performed for D.C.
Like Harkes and Onalfo, Peay played for Arena at the University of Virginia. Peay won four NCAA titles from 1991-94, then captured MLS Cups in 1996, ’97, and ’99 with United. Peay’s career was shortened by a knee injury, then he started coaching as an assistant at the collegiate level, with Georgetown, Davidson, and George Mason. His first head coaching position was with the University of Richmond from 2009-12. He has been coaching US junior teams and was an assistant under former Chicago Fire coach and Arena assistant Dave Sarachan with North Carolina FC last season.
Peay grew up playing soccer in a planned community in Columbia, Md.
“As a kid, I think everyone played soccer in Columbia,” Peay said. “Parents said, ‘this is a great activity for a child to get involved with.’ They had good organization in those days, and they provided a platform for kids to play the sport. One of the differences was the community in Columbia, the way it was built, you were close to your friends, you were neighbors. So you could have pickup games and have 20 or 30 guys and not have to drive 30 miles to play a game. It was easy.”
Peay hopes his players can capture some of the spontaneity of pickup games, often lacking in the development of US players.
“Everything is different now,” Peay said. “Obviously, you want that grassroots kind of feel to happen organically. The way things are, it’s changed, but you want to bring something similar out in other ways.”
The Revolution II team will begin play in USL League One next year.
Former Berkshire School star Jack Harrison’s goal gave Leeds United a 1-0 win at Reading Tuesday, moving it into first place in the League Championship. Leeds (11-3-4, 37 points), coached by Marcelo Bielsa, signed Harrison on loan from Manchester City last year. Harrison, 23, won three NEPSAC titles with Berkshire, played a season at Wake Forest, then two years with New York City FC before moving to Manchester City on a $5 million transfer.