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Review | ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ episode two

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: Spurs’ 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 two, 'A New Start'.

 

Episode number: 2

Episode title: “A New Start”

Length: 45 minutes

 

Summary:

Episode two opens with Jose Mourinho, Daniel Levy and a club press officer at a table in the canteen.

The press officer is briefing Mourinho on what questions and topics to expect in his upcoming press conference and warns Jose to expect a question on whether his appointment at Spurs is a betrayal to Chelsea.

"The betrayal is that I won three leagues with them and they sacked me," Mourinho replies bluntly.

Less than a minute into the episode, the Spurs manager has already dropped his first quotable line before the opening credits have even rolled across the screen.

Cut to the aforementioned press conference, and Mourinho is yet again as confident and charismatic as ever.

In fact, without Mourinho the documentary would likely be a dull affair. Had Pochettino's replacement been anyone else, the docuseries would barely be worth watching.

After a few soundbites, we are treated to the opening credits, before the episode picks up exactly where episode one left off; Spurs' visit to West Ham. Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura fire Spurs into a 2-0 lead at half-time, with Mourinho urging his team to "kill the game in the second half".

"In England, in minute 85, 2-0 is not over. It's not over."

Harry Kane heads Spurs into a three-goal lead before the Hammers claw two goals back to ensure a nervy finish at London Stadium.

As Mourinho meets club staff and talks up Spurs' new stadium, defender Serge Aurier visits a local school as part of the club's commitment that every first-team player engages with the local community.

Back at the training ground, Jose calls Eric Dier into his office to discuss why the England international could not get into the starting eleven towards the end of Pochettino's reign. Interestingly, the conversation takes place in Portuguese, where Dier grew up and came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon.

Dier attributes his lack of game time to injuries and Pochettino's focus on long recoveries before Mourinho offers his opinion.

"Very simply, I, as you know, I like you as a player or I wouldn't have tried to sign you."

Mourinho then goes on to tell Dier that while the player might be saddened by Pochettino's departure, Mourinho's arrival is likely to be good for him.

"Winning is history," Mourinho states as the scene shifts to Spurs' home Champions League clash against Olympiacos, where a win will be enough to secure qualification to the knockout stages.

In the dressing room before the game, Mourinho has a staggeringly blunt altercation with Aurier.

Telling Aurier that he will be "a marker", Mourinho goes on to tell the former PSG defender that he is worried about Aurier's marking because the right back is "capable of giving a shit penalty with VAR."

"So I am telling you already that I am afraid of you," Mourinho concludes, with Aurier visibly stunned at the reprimand.

Olympiacos stun Spurs with two early goals, with Youssef El-Arabi and Rúben Semedo firing the Greek visitors into a 2-0 lead. Mourinho reacts by replacing Eric Dier with Christian Eriksen after just 29 minutes.

Afterwards, Dier does not hide his hurt and disappointment at the substitution,

Dele Alli pulls one back for Spurs before the interval, but there is no hairdryer treatment at half time.

https://twitter.com/_SeasonTicket/status/1300899599758966787

Mourinho returns to the dressing room and, in a hushed yet urgent tone, implores his players to calm down in the second half. It is impossible, he tells them, to play as poorly in the second half as they did in the first.

Aurier is urged to push forward from right back to join the attack, with the natural attackers in the team instructed to get into the box when Aurier has the ball out wide.

The Ivorian has a hand in the second goal, receiving the ball from an alert ball boy on the sideline before throwing the ball into Lucas Moura's path. Moura's cross is met by Kane who finds the net from eight yards to make it 2-2.

Aurier is then the unlikely hero, meeting a deflected Alli cross at the back post with a beautiful volley into the far corner, before Kane's second goal makes it 4-2.

Mourinho then invites the ball boy, Callum Hynes, to a team meal to celebrate the boy's role in Spurs' third goal.

"Good assist," Alli says with a smile as Kane introduces a delighted Callum to the team.

Mourinho, like everyone's favourite uncle, appears and tells Callum not to give the opposition the ball back fast if Spurs are winning.

The relationship between Mourinho and Alli remains the most interesting one in the series, and we get to see them engaged in their first serious conversation in this episode in Mourinho's office.

Mourinho tells the midfielder that while he likes him, he doesn't want to be his father or uncle, just his coach with a good connection. The manager tells Alli he had no doubt about his potential, but always thought Alli had "ups and downs".

Jose stresses that the difference between a top, top player and one with top potential is consistency. Alli should demand more from himself, Mourinho says.

Only Dele, Jose says, can know why his meteoric rise has reached somewhat of a plateau, and he warns the young midfielder about letting his career pass him by.

"Today I am 56," he tells Alli. "Yesterday, yesterday I was 20!"

"Time flies, and I think one day you will regret if you don't reach what you can reach."

Next, as Jose mulls over his team selection for the Bournemouth match, he observes that while Dier wouldn't start in usual circumstances, he owes the midfielder for "the big knife I stabbed him in".

It's a fascinating insight into Mourinho's psychology, and his next words - combined with his lounging body language in his chair - make him seem like a modern Vito Corleone;

"Maybe I sacrifice Winks this time. For the family, for the feeling of the family."

We are then shown a short shot of Mourinho alone, praying on his knees before the 3pm kick-off against the Cherries.

Spurs proceed to win 3-2, with Alli bagging a brace and Moussa Sissoko adding a third. Bournemouth score twice to keep the game alive, but Spurs hold on for three wins from three under Jose. In one week, Spurs have climbed nine places in the table.

The episode ends with Mourinho heaping praise on Alli in his post-match press conference, before teasing Spurs' visit to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in episode three.

While not as impressive as episode one, episode two remains a compelling watch and sets the tone nicely for the rest of the series.

Stock up on popcorn.

Moment of the week:

Mourinho's aforementioned tirade against Aurier in the dressing room.

The look on the Ivorian's face said it all.

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