Gary Neville insists Jose Mourinho has the attacking players at his disposal at Tottenham to deliver the north London club the Premier League title, but the former Manchester United defender is still not convinced they can do it.
Spurs moved to the top of the Premier League for a short while on Sunday after Hary Kane’s 88th-minute header snatched a 1-0 victory at West Brom.
It was the first time they had hit the summit since August 2014, before Leicester leapfrogged them into top spot later in the day.
Spurs remain second heading into the international break and there is building optimism at the club, that they can mount a serious title challenge and win a first Premier League title and a first league championship since 1961.
- West Brom 0-1 Tottenham – Match report and highlights
- How the teams lined-up | Match stats
- Premier League table | Fixtures | Results
Despite Neville’s doubts about their title credentials, he thinks it would be one of the great football stories if a resurgent Mourinho could lead Spurs to the title.
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“I said a couple weeks ago on Monday Night Football that Spurs couldn’t win the league, and I still don’t think they can,” he told The Gary Neville Podcast.
“But I do agree with Jamie Carragher that it would be the most outstanding story to see Jose Mourinho win the Premier League with Tottenham.
- MNF: Are Tottenham title contenders?
“It would be something that would alarm Chelsea fans, Manchester United fans and Arsenal fans. It would be one of the great stories, because Tottenham don’t win leagues!
“He’s got the forward players to do it. You think of the strike force and the goal – it’s incredible.”
Carra: I'd love to see Jose win again
Speaking on Monday Night Football a few weeks back, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher admitted he would relish the prospect of Jose Mourinho getting his hands back on the Premier League trophy after being subjected to criticism in the five years since his last title-winning campaign.
“I obviously want Liverpool to win the league, but if someone else were to win it, I’d love to see Jose Mourinho win again,” Carragher told MNF.
“Mourinho has had so much thrown at him recently; accusations that he’s yesterday’s man, his football is from a different era. I’d love to see him win again and almost stick two fingers up at pundits and the press, whoever.
“It would be a good story for Mourinho to do that again. After what he’s achieved in his career, he still gets a lot of criticism because he rubs people up the wrong way at different times, but it would be nice to see him win again in a different way.”
Carragher added: “There was no bigger fan of Mauricio Pochettino than me, but his team was done, and it needed to evolve and change.
“When Jose came in things were a bit stop-start last season, and don’t think for one minute that anyone involved with Tottenham – from Daniel Levy, to Jose Mourinho and his players – thought about challenging for the title this season, it would have all been about getting into the top four.
“But because this season has been so strange – Liverpool losing Virgil van Dijk, Manchester City not looking right and having already dropped eight points – if there is ever going to be a chance when someone does do something, this will be the season.”
‘England lucky to have Kane’
Meanwhile, Neville thinks only injury can stop Kane breaking every record in the game after the England striker scored his 150th Premier League goal in Spurs’ victory over West Brom.
It followed his 200th goal for Spurs in the Europa League in midweek, and Neville insists England are lucky to have him in their ranks.
“The only thing that can stop Harry Kane doing everything in the game, breaking every record, is injury,” Neville said.
Kane's remarkable numbers
“Alan Shearer is definitely the best striker in PL history in terms of his goal record. He’s the best striker I’ve played with for England, in terms of a number nine, and Rooney I’d put up there with him.
And Harry Kane has so much similarity in his game, in terms of the mentality, just ice cold, doesn’t seem to flinch if he misses a chance, flinch if a goalkeeper saves one, he’ll come back and do the right thing. Scoring a goal is a process for them, where he knows where the target is.
“It’s methodical, and he’s brilliant. He’s a great professional, and England are lucky to have him.”
‘Rodgers an outstanding coach’
Just pipping Spurs at the top of the Premier League heading into the international break is Leicester following their 1-0 win against Wolves on Sunday.
Neville was full of praise for the job Brendan Rodgers is doing at the King Power Stadium, calling him ‘one of the outstanding managers in the league’.
“They are an awkward, awkward proposition,” Neville said on his podcast. “They do a lot of things very well, they’re efficient, well coached. They started last season well but fell away at the end.
“It’s an outstanding performance from Brendan Rodgers. Wolves are a very difficult customer to get past, and what Leicester are doing is outstanding.
“It proves it’s no one-season wonder,” he added. There’s continuity now, and Brendan Rodgers is one of the outstanding managers in the league.
“We talk about British coaches not being at the level of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho or Mauricio Pochettino, but actually Rodgers, who has finished second with Liverpool and done what he’s done with Leicester, is up there really. He’s a fantastic coach.”
- Leicester 1-0 Wolves – Match report and highlights
- Match stats | How the teams lined up
‘Man Utd so inconsistent’
The final word from Neville’s podcast this week goes to his former club Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side picked up a much-needed win at Everton on Saturday lunchtime, and while Neville thinks they deserved their win at Goodison Park, he believes inconsistency will continue to hurt them as they look to push up the table.
- Everton 1-2 Man Utd – Match report and highlights
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Analysis: Fine margins keep Wolves away from Ole’s door
He said: “I was glued to the TV from 11.30am yesterday morning, thinking about the game, thinking about the previous week, and you just think: ‘We need a performance here, Ole needs a performance, the club need a performance, players need a performance.’
“They go behind, and I think United deservedly came out on top in the end.
“They’re just so inconsistent. If you think about the last week, the performance against Leipzig, PSG, against Arsenal, in Turkey, they’ve got to get rid of that, it’s up and down.
“It’s a thing that will always put them under pressure as players and a manager. You need consistency, ultimately that’s what a champion needs to be, and at the moment they’re inconsistent.”
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