Contrast Mourinho’s changing of tactics with that of his protégé Andre Villas-Boas. Tottenham were struggling to break down West Ham United at White Hart Lane. Rather than change the approach, Villas-Boas made like for like changes. West Ham duly scored three times and a game that Spurs were expected to win was thrown away. For one of the first times in his Tottenham reign, Villas-Boas lost the tactical battle and was out thought by an opposing manager.
That Sam Allardyce was the manager to outsmart Villas-Boas was a surprise. He went to White Hart Lane and played without a forward, put six in midfield and stifled the creativity of Spurs, especially Christian Eriksen. Spurs could not break down the 10 man defense and the Hammers were rewarded with three late goals and a valuable three points. Spurs and Villas-Boas need to win these types of games if they are to have any chance of making the top four, never mind being in the title hunt (they won’t be).
The Harry for England brigade should fall silent now that Roy Hodgson has led England to the World Cup in Brazil. Hodgson’s team won their group and even managed to play some attractive football along the way. They are a quarter-final team at best, but in Hodgson, they have a tactically astute coach who might yet help the Three Lions get to the last four.
Two years ago Noel King, a career national staff coach with the Football Association of Ireland was managing his nations’ women’s national team. King then took over the men’s Under 21 side and after the recent sacking of Giovanni Trapattoni was appointed the interim manager for the senior side. He had the unenviable task of picking a side to face Germany in Cologne, but his side did him proud despite the 3-0 loss. Ireland beat Kazakhstan 3-1 in his second game, but King’s now infamous post match interview on local television may now, unfortunately, come to define his short reign and possibly his career.
Spare a thought for Bob Bradley. Four years ago Ghana ended his World Cup dream when they eliminated his USA team in South Africa. Bradley, now managing Egypt, had to endure a 1-6 first leg loss to the same opposition in African qualification play-offs. That Egypt had won their group is now a distant memory as their hopes of qualification for Brazil were so ruthlessly dashed by the Ghanaians. Bradley would have been in the running for other international jobs had Egypt advanced to the World Cup. After such a stunning loss his options may be limited.
Jurgen Klinsmann deserves some credit for the manner in which the USA came back to beat Panama, a result that not only eliminated the Panamanians, but allowed Mexico a second chance at World Cup qualification. It would have been easy for Klinsmann to have given up the chase when Panama took the lead with seven minutes to go as an American loss would have seen bitter rival’s Mexico eliminated. Graham Zusi scored the equalizer in injury time before two of Klinsmann’s substitutes – Aron Johannsson and Terence Boyd - combined to score the winner. It was a devastating loss for Panama and a rare American win celebrated by the whole of Mexico. Klinsmann will be in the running for any Mexican job for the remainder of his managerial career.