The once-famed ability of Jose Mourinho to shut down opposition team’s attack is now a thing of the past, according to Gary Breen.
The former Ireland international was on Friday’s OTB AM and was analysing Tottenham’s recent form ahead of their showdown with Manchester City this Sunday.
Mourinho, who used to command an unmatched ability to defensively frustrate teams, has conceded plenty since taking over at Spurs.
The former centre-back believes that opposition managers have figured out how to break down his formerly impenetrable defensive system.
“I think it’s probably a little bit of both. I think in that period [with Inter Milan] Jose Mourinho was probably at his best. I had seen that Inter Milan team live in the quarter-finals against Chelsea.
“It was a masterclass of a defensive performance. Inter Milan won 1-0 at the Bridge to go through on aggregate.
“He had someone like Samuel Eto’o, who was probably one of the best centre-forwards in Europe at the time, literally playing like an orthodox left-back.
“Such was the shift his team was putting in and they totally negated Ancelotti’s Chelsea. But I think those types of defensive masterclasses have been few and far between, certainly since he’s gone to Tottenham it’s been a real problem,” Breen said.
Tottenham have had plenty of mixed performances since Mourinho has taken over and have won only one of their last five Premier League games.
While a number of injuries hasn’t helped Mourinho’s case, Breen was surprised by Spurs’ poor run of results.
“I would have believed his impact would have been greater than it has been so far at Spurs. I think you have to take into account the injuries he’s had, obviously the high-profile one in Harry Kane.
“But I think also, Sissoko’s injury has hit Mourinho very hard in terms of that physicality that he likes to have in his team.
“But it’ll be a fascinating game, I’m covering it on commentary and really looking forward to it. Because no matter where Jose is at the moment, there’s always edge when he goes up against Guardiola,” Breen said.
Tottenham take on Man City at Tottenham Stadium on Sunday at 4.30 pm in a game that could be crucial to their Champions League qualifying hopes.