Jermaine Jenas believes that Jose Mourinho has instilled a desire to win at Tottenham, a “secret ingredient” that his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino did not have.
Mourinho took over from Pochettino last November and has begun to firmly stamp his mark on the club.
Spurs sit top of the Premier League table after 10 games and have not lost since the opening weekend. What’s more, they have a fantastic balance both at the back and going forward.
Tottenham have the best defensive record in the league, while forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung-min look unstoppable.
But according to Jenas, Mourinho’s mental impact has proved the true catalyst for his side’s recent form, after their slump following the 2019 Champions League final defeat under Pochettino.
“We can’t forget what Poch did for Tottenham,” Jenas told BBC Sport.
“Because he made them Champions League regulars and took them to a whole new stratosphere in terms of their belief levels.
“Mourinho, though, has somehow looked at that blueprint and said ‘it is brilliant but I can make it better because I know the secret ingredient’. That secret ingredient is a desire to win.”
Mourinho’s no-nonsense style has had contrasting effects with his previous teams; he led Chelsea to three Premier League titles before the Blues – and later Manchester United – sacked him.
More recently, there were doubts about whether Spurs’ players had the mentality Mourinho wanted. Jenas, though, says that the squad has shown a willingness to adapt this season.
Mourinho’s mentality shift
“These Tottenham players are all very good footballers, but the question was ‘do they want success enough to get it in a horrible way?’
“Basically, are they willing to do it Jose’s way? It looks like they are, and the more big results it gets them, the more they will be in the palm of his hand.”
Spurs have the chance to claim one such huge result on Sunday when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Indeed, the clash has extra significance given that Mourinho used to coach Blues boss Frank Lampard.
Speaking in his pre-match press briefing, though, Mourinho labelled it as just another match.