LEIPZIG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) head coach Jose Mourinho of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between RB Leipzig and Tottenham Hotspur at Red Bull Arena on March 10, 2020 in Leipzig,
Sack Levy. ‘But you can’t sack Levy, he has to sell the club’. Then force a sale. He (and Bahamas dweller Joe Lewis) refused to invest in a squad that was so close to winning a major trophy, leaving the club’s greatest modern manager (not you, Jose) tackling back-to-back seasons of 38 away games with the same players. There’s only so long you can convince Eric Dier that he’s not Eric Dier. The fans are often wrong but when they are all crying out for you to back the manager and sign a striker… well, sign a striker.
Sack Mourinho. Mauricio Pochettino was better. Hell, Tactics Tim Sherwood was better. Has one man ever uttered so many excuses? We know you don’t have a striker. But that’s OK, because you’re supposedly one of the world’s greatest managers. You still have competent footballers at your disposal. Try something. And to his credit, he did at least try against Leipzig. But when you’re commending a manager for taking part in the right spirit after a 3-0 defeat, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Three-year syndrome has become a-shade-over-three-month syndrome. We all know how this story ends. So end it now.
'No team in the world copes with our injuries' - Mourinho
Sack Lloris. One thing Mourinho can’t legislate for is his goalkeeper forgetting how to save the ball, as was the case with Marcel Sabitzer’s opening two goals for Leipzig. Lloris is in the baffling category of goalkeepers who look great on statistic charts but are unavoidably calamitous on the pitch. And when that player is your captain, it doesn’t exactly exude confidence across the pitch.
Sack everyone. OK, not quite everyone. But how many players outside of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso would be guaranteed a start at any other Premier League club? There was a time when Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were pushing to be the greatest defensive pairing in Europe. Now, one is the poster boy of a rotting defence and the other is glued to the bench. Dele Alli was once battling Kylian Mbappe for the Golden Boy award. Now, after the briefest of renaissances under Mourinho, he is back attempting fancy flicks and looking lost. Bin the lot.
'Cheer up, it's going to be okay!' - Mourinho has bizarre journalist encounter
As if crashing out of Europe again to Olympiacos wasn’t bad enough, now several Arsenal players are in self-isolation after coming into contact with the Greek side’s owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has the coronavirus. The upshot? Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City is OFF.
A host of European matches will take place behind closed doors as the coronavirus continues to tear through the sporting calendar. Barcelona v Napoli? Without fans. Bayern Munich v Chelsea? No spectators. PSG v Borussia Dortmund? Onlookers barred. LASK v Manchester United? Audience deprived. Sevilla v Roma? Crowd-less. Getafe v Inter Milan? Lonely stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers v Olympiacos? Sans fans (our current favourite).
And it gets worse. ALL Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 fixtures in France will be behind closed doors until April 15, as will La Liga games for at least two weeks and Poland’s Euro 2020 warm-up matches. Odds of this season finishing: 0%. There's always next year, Liverpool.
Empty Stadium Bingo
The lack of sporting events has left us with some time on our hands. Introducing Empty Stadium Bingo – grab a dabber and play along! But not with friends. Isolate yourself. Then play.
IN OTHER NEWS
Messi… Ronaldo… Ilicic.
Remember when behind closed doors (apologies, sans fans) matches were a punishment?
Relive West Ham’s match with Castilla in an eerily empty Upton Park from 1980 after fans were banned for rioting in the first leg of the European Cup Winners' Cup tie.
So farewell then, Tottenham. Who knows when our paths will cross again? A fixture they embarked upon with a puncher’s chance and plenty of underdog spirit ended merely in crippling defeat and more questions. A broken team that under the joyless stewardship of José Mourinho has been broken still further, they looked here exactly what they are: the eighth‑best team in the Premier League
Jonathan Liew breaks down Tottenham's demise ever so slightly more eloquently than The Warm-Up. He's in the Guardian.
Tear up your tickets, settle on the sofa and get your bingo dabber out for Bayern v Chelsea and PSG v Dortmund.
Andi Thomas spends his life behind closed doors so he should have no problem digesting tonight's action in tomorrow's Warm-Up