FIVE bust-ups finally give Jose Mourinho the fight he wants from his nice guys as All or Nothing ends with a bang… but celebrating a draw against Crystal Palace in a car park to clinch sixth shows how far Spurs have fallen
- Final three episodes of All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur released next week
- They cover the end of the season, either side of coronavirus-enforced lockdown
- We witness five bust-ups involving Mourinho’s players as he calls for more fight
- Tanguy Ndombele has a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy to discuss his future
Having sat back and watched him for the best part of two decades, we all know of Jose Mourinho’s unrivalled ability to spin a narrative to try and get the best out of his teams.
From episode one of All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur the message Mourinho is trying to ingrain into his Spurs players, Amazon’s documentary makers and us the viewers, is that he inherited a team from Mauricio Pochettino that was far too nice -one that needs to turn nasty before it harbours any ambitions of success.
For the first six episodes of the series, we see team talk after team talk and interview after interview of Mourinho trying to drum this message home, with little results. In the final three episodes of the series, he finally gets his wish.
Serge Aurier has to hold back Hugo Lloris from squaring up to Son Heung-min
Dele Alli throws his boots down in disgust after the 3-2 defeat by Wolves in March
Eric Dier charging into the stands to confront a supporter after the Norwich defeat and Hugo Lloris losing the plot with Son Heung-min for not tracking back against Everton were incidents both caught on camera at the time, though All or Nothing delves deeper into them by providing dressing-room footage directly after, with emotions still running high.
On top of that, we witness a heated dressing room row between Dier and Dele Alli after the 3-2 home defeat by Wolves, a training-ground injury for a furious Son following a heavy challenge from Dier, and a confrontation between Lucas Moura and Serge Aurier during the same practice match.
The row between close friends Dier and Alli in episode seven comes as Dier takes exception to Alli throwing a tantrum following the Wolves defeat in March. Alli shouts: ‘How the f*** did we lose that? F***ing same every single game’, before throwing his boots down in anger. To which Dier responds: ‘Del, why you keep on saying these comments? Don’t just sit there like a spoilt kid.’ Dier then mocks Alli by throwing his boots down.
Eric Dier tells Alli to stop acting up after his dressing room tantrum following the Wolves defeat
Alli responds to Dier as the row between the close friends rumbles on
Just three days later, after the FA Cup defeat by Norwich on penalties, Amazon capture footage of Dier immediately after he confronted the fan in the stands, an incident he would later receive a four-match ban for.
After Erik Lamela asks him what happened, a still upset Dier explains as more team-mates walk into the dressing room at the end of episode seven: ‘I was looking for my brother in the stands and there was a guy a couple of rows in front of my brother and he was going like this – (gives middle finger with both hands) “f*** you, s***”. Two rows below my brother, that’s where my mother sits, that’s where my sister sits, everyone’s family sits and our parents have to stand there and have someone two rows in front of you call you a c*** and a f****** son of a b**** and a p**** and a s*** and this and think it’s OK?’
Amid a winless run of six matches before lockdown, the footage is edited to ensure Mourinho’s positive spin on both incidents is the final message. He tells Alli and Dier after their bust-up that he is ‘happy’ with their reactions, and we see him telling the press after the Dier incident: ‘I think Eric Dier did something that we professionals cannot do, but in these circumstances I think every one of us would do.’
There can be no doubt, however, that lockdown, which covers most of a rather dull episode eight, came at a great time for a struggling Spurs side, allowing for Harry Kane and Son to return from injuries and for a bit of perspective.
Dier was banned for four matches for climbing into the stand to confront a fan in March
Dier explains to his team-mates what happened after the incident against Norwich
The series spring back into life in the final episode as Project Restart swings into gear and Amazon finally deal with the elephant in the room, their poor debut season of their record signing Tanguy Ndombele.
Despite reported clashes with Jose Mourinho throughout the season, we see nothing of the French midfielder up until this point, when Amazon gets access to first a chat over lunch with fellow French speakers Moussa Sissoko and Serge Aurier, then a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy.
Chatting to Sissoko and Aurier, Ndombele explains in French: ‘It’s complicated when you change country. I left France and I left my family to come here… you have to adapt to a new life and it hasn’t been easy so far but that’s how it is.’
In his meeting with Levy, Ndombele hints at frustration with Mourinho through a translator: ‘For three months I trained hard, everybody say I trained well, but if I don’t play it means there must be something else.’
Then, in the cringeworthy David Brent-like style we have grown accustomed to from Levy in this series, he goes on to compare Ndombele’s struggles to his own battles at school as a teenager, before he went on to do well in his A-levels. Ndombele looks understandably perplexed, and we hear no from him as he is told to knuckle down and keep working hard. All in all, it is an unsatisfactory addressing of an issue that had been swept under the carpet for the first eight episodes.
Tanguy Ndombele speaks to Daniel Levy with the player liaison officer interpreting
Once Ndombele is ushered off camera never to be seen again, we return to the Mourinho narrative of positive confrontation. Footage, albeit at a distance, is shown of a fiesty 11 v 11 training match Mourinho has organised.
First, we see Lucas Moura square up to Serge Aurier, then we see Son receiving treatment on a shin injury caused by a challenge from Dier. Son is angry in the treatment room but Mourinho is seen positively grinning. He even tells Son in jest to put a picture on Instagram and say it was done in a training match, while Dier comes in to apologise.
After the abject 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United, Spurs went six matches unbeaten at the end of the season, kick-started by an attritional 1-0 win over Everton, where Lloris’ aggression towards Son made the headlines.
We heard at the time that the row continued into the dressing room and Amazon show us just that as Aurier has to physically restrain a still seething Lloris. Mourinho addresses the incident at half-time and tells his players: ‘It happens because now we demand more from each other… if you take it in the positive way, for me, it’s perfect.’ We then see Son and Lloris hug at the end after Spurs win the match.
The row between Son and Lloris in July was caught on camera at the time
If that brought a smile to Spurs fans’ faces, then the scenes at the end of the 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace on the final day of the season which secured sixth place may have left them cringing.
We see Mourinho and his staff jumping up and down in celebration, with rapturous scenes in the temporary dressing room put up in the Selhurst Park car park.
Spin or no spin, it’s clear from All or Nothing, and particularly the final three episodes, that Mourinho has instilled more aggression into his players.
But a year on from celebrating reaching the Champions League final and finishing fourth, no one can be kidded into thinking this was a good season for Tottenham.
Lucas Moura (far left) and Aurier (far right) clash during an 11 v 11 training match
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur is now available on Amazon Prime Video.
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