The Season Ticket
Review | ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ episode three
If the Michael Jordan epic The Last Dance’ was the most hotly anticipated sports documentary series of 2020, ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ wasn’t far behind.
The all-access docuseries finally dropped on Amazon Prime this week.
‘All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ documents the club’s 2019/20 campaign, from Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking to Jose Mourinho’s appointment, and features everything from transfer drama to the coronavirus pandemic.
In this article, David Smith reviews episode three, 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'.
If you missed his reviews of the first two episodes, you can find them here.
Episode number: 3
Episode title: “No More Mr. Nice Guy”
Length: 45 minutes
The episode begins with the fallout from Spurs’ 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, their first loss under Mourinho’s leadership.
Mourinho calls the players in for a team meeting to discuss the result.
“I felt that you were hiding,” Mourinho informs the players bluntly.
“The attitude was not good enough.”
Harry Kane, as captain, interjects to agree with his manager.
“I don’t know if it’s laziness or what, but it’s happened in every game and I don’t know how.”
Mourinho launches into a monologue about mentality, finishing each instruction with "go and win", and he instils a new mantra in the Spurs player;
"Be a bastard, be a bastard."
The Portuguese manager speaks to the camera about changing the mentality of the squad, before supervising a training session which focuses on camaraderie and team building.
Tom Hardy's narration then shifts focus to the much-publicised Christian Eriksen saga.
The Denmark international has publicly spoken of his desire to leave Spurs, and has entered the last year of his contract with the North London club.
In a fascinating private discussion between Mourinho and chairman Daniel Levy in the manager's office, Mourinho - who has been leaving Eriksen out of his starting lineup - openly questions the Danish playmaker's attitude and application.
"He doesn't... push. That extra desire, he's missing that," Mourinho informs a nodding Levy.
An exasperated Mourinho asks Levy where Eriksen is going, and Levy can only shrug and say he doesn't no the midfielder's next destination.
"The problem we have with Christian, none of us know what the real truth is. His agent controls everything. His agent... there's no dialogue between the club and his agent at all."
Speaking to the camera, Eriksen hits out at the constant press speculation and rumours footballers are subjected to in the public eye.
The episode then cuts to Spurs' clash with Burnley in early December, with Eriksen again omitted from the starting eleven, and Mourinho's men looking to bounce back from that demoralising defeat to the Red Devils.
Kane fires Spurs into the lead with a powerful drive, before Lucas Moura stabs in Spurs' second at the back post.
Spurs' third goal is one to remember.
Heung-Min Son collects the ball deep inside his own half and embarks on a determined dribble, leaving Burnley players in his wake.
He carries the ball forward at pace, and just when it looks like Burnley's covering players are converging on him, he shows stunning footwork and pace to dance clear of two lunging tackles, keeping his balance while evading the remaining defenders.
Once through on goal, he calmly slots the ball past Nick Pope to score one of the goals of the season and put Spurs 3-0 up at half time.
In the dressing room, Mourinho urges his players to make a clean sheet "a collective objective".
Further goals from Kane and Moussa Sissoko put the gloss on a brilliant performance (and a clean sheet), with the Spurs players shown chanting Sissoko's name in the dressing room after the match.
The episode uses Son's scintillating strike as an entry point to an examination of the attacker's status as one of the most famous people in South Korea.
Son, who comes across as both warm and bashful, seems embarrassed by his fame.
We are shown crowds of South Koreans waiting outside the training ground for their hero - some of whom have flown 8,000 miles just for a glimpse of him - and are introduced to one infectiously happy fan waving politely to cars to impart as good of an impression as possible on the North London locals.
Following brief discussions around Eriksen's contract and the futures of Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, attention switches to Spurs' pre-Christmas clash with Wolves at Molineux.
The next few minutes of the episode are cleverly edited, flitting between scenes of the match itself and Jose's pre-match instructions.
What's particularly eye-catching, with the benefit of hindsight, is Mourinho's name-dropping of Matt Doherty as aggressive.
Spurs take a 1-0 lead through a powerful drive from Lucas Moura, before Wolves winger Adama Traore rattles in an equaliser from distance.
With the game delicately poised and entering the dying minutes, Mourinho calls for Eriksen from the substitutes bench. The Dane, having read the script, duly comes on and provides an assist for Vertonghen's winning header.
The win takes Spurs to within three points of Chelsea in fourth ahead of their clash with their London rivals, making the 'Mourinho versus his old club' narrative all the spicier.
Before that crucial game against the Blues, we are shown footage of the amicable Vertonghen helping out at a local food bank and conversing with supporters.
The Belgian centre back talks candidly about his future - which remains up in the air at this point - and gives us the human insight into transfers and players moving clubs as he discusses his reluctance to tell his daughter that she may have to leave the school she loves and move elsewhere.
Things are looking better for Alderweireld, who puts pen to paper on a new three-year deal which Hardy informs us is worth a reputed 20 million pounds.
Hype builds ahead of Mourinho's battle against his former player Frank Lampard.
When Eriksen enquires if Lampard is a good guy, Mourinho tells him that the former England international is the best professional he's ever seen.
Mourinho heaps further praise on Lampard in his pre-match press conference, saying he "always loved the guy", but reiterates that he wants the Chelsea manager to lose at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Willian fires Chelsea into a 1-0 lead, before converting a penalty to double the hosts' advantage after a clumsy foul on Marcos Alonso by Spurs 'keeper Paul Gazzaniga.
Dele Alli is then shown petulantly throwing a water bottle to the ground in frustration on his way into the dressing room before the camera pans to Mourinho frantically writing on his tactics board.
"First thing," he tells his players angrily, "you cope with the fucking pressure."
Mourinho urges his players to score one goal and believe that they can turn the Premier League tie around, and also introduces Eriksen for the second half.
Things go from bad to worse when Son kicks out at Antonio Rudiger, earning a straight red card for the angry reaction to a challenge from the Chelsea defender.
"How is that red?" Son fumes as he trudges defeatedly down the tunnel into the dressing room.
The attacker owns up to his mistake in a later interview, and the episode ends with Mourinho trying to consolidate his deflated squad.
Moment of the episode:
Mourinho's assertion ahead of Spurs' trip to Wolves that:
"If we go there with a Mickey Mouse mentality, they fuck us."