3 reasons why Tottenham Hotspur should prioritise the FA Cup this season
Last night saw Tottenham Hotspur overcome a tough challenge from fellow Premier League side Southampton to make it into the 5th round of the FA Cup, where they will next play Norwich City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Some of the Premier League’s other giants have made it painfully clear that the FA Cup is not their priority this season; Liverpool have largely played their young prospects in their cup ties while both Manchester City and Chelsea have also taken the opportunity to rest their stars in the competition too.
Should Tottenham follow suit and focus purely on their Premier League and Champions League campaigns this season? Or would it be a better idea for Spurs to make a real push to win the FA Cup? Here are 3 reasons why they should do the latter.
#1 Spurs fans are crying out for a trophy
It sounds insane, but you’ve got to go back well over a decade – to February 2008 to be exact – to find the last time Tottenham Hotspur won a trophy. That was the EFL Cup, and Juande Ramos was in charge of the club at the time. Since then, Spurs have had five different managers, and have been to 3 finals – as well as numerous semi-finals – and have always fallen at the final hurdle.
Tottenham are now widely considered to be one of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’, but their lack of trophies is often used as a stick to beat them with by fans of their rival teams. So while the FA Cup might be a secondary trophy in the eyes of teams like Manchester City and Chelsea – sides who have become accustomed to winning competitions year after year – but to Spurs fans, winning it would represent a millstone being lifted from their necks.
Would Spurs fans trade a year outside of the Champions League for a trophy like the FA Cup? It’s debatable, but they’d almost certainly prefer to win the FA Cup than to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League only to fall again, for instance. Therefore Jose Mourinho and his side should take the competition as seriously as they possibly can – and end the fans’ thirst for glory.
#2 It’d justify Mourinho’s hiring
In the five seasons that followed his appointment as Tottenham boss, Mauricio Pochettino achieved a great deal; he turned Spurs into a side capable of challenging for the Premier League title, he was able to lead them to finish above their bitter rivals Arsenal after years of trying and failing, and of course, he took them to the 2018-19 Champions League final.
The one thing that Pochettino could not do, unfortunately, was give Spurs a trophy. His side fell to Liverpool in the Champions League final, and his other final – the EFL Cup final in 2014-15 – saw them defeated by Chelsea. And that’s part of the reason why, when the Argentine was fired in November, that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy turned to Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese is a serial winner, and he’s literally won trophies at every single club he’s managed; league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, as well as multiple domestic cups and two Champions League titles. Mourinho’s brand of football may not be as attractive to the eye to Spurs fans as Pochettino’s was, but if he manages to bring them a trophy, no fan would complain.
Winning the FA Cup would be a justification for the hiring of Mourinho – something that could become tricky if Spurs remain without honours in the seasons with him in charge.
#3 It could open the floodgates for more glory
Everyone knows how successful Sir Alex Ferguson was as Manchester United manager, and yet it took the great Scotsman 4 seasons to win his first trophy at the club – the FA Cup. That cup victory – which came in 1990, 5 years after United’s last trophy win – then opened the floodgates for more victories, and following that, the Red Devils practically won at least one competition every year until the retirement of Ferguson in 2013.
So what does this mean for Tottenham? Essentially, that once the club gets over its hump and manages to win their first trophy for over a decade, its players are likely to suddenly find a thirst for more glory. It’s not that they don’t want to win trophies now – and not that they didn’t want to win any under Pochettino – but more that they simply haven’t experienced how to do it just yet.
If Mourinho can lead them to a victory in this season’s FA Cup, though? That will all change. Simply having that honour could change the mentality of players like Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Harry Winks – players who have not yet won any trophies – and mean that the next time they end up in a major final, or in a race for the Premier League title, they’ve got the knowledge and experience to come out on top.Published 06 Feb 2020, 23:20 IST