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Dimitar Berbatov insists Tottenham haven't gone backwards under Jose Mourinho


Jose Mourinho doesn’t deserve to be judged on this season, says former Tottenham star Dimitar ­Berbatov.

He reckons Mourinho has to be given a lot more time to work with the ­players ­inherited from ­Mauricio ­Pochettino and at least one transfer window to start moulding his Spurs squad into the shape he wants.

The 57-year-old has faced a ­barrage of heavy criticism in ­recent weeks after Spurs ­suffered a real dip in form.

Tottenham started life reasonably well under the Portuguese after he replaced the popular Pochettino in November, with six victories in nine games in all competitions.

But since the end of ­December they have had only five wins, with four losses and two draws in the last six games.

Dimitar Berbatov says Jose Mourinho should not be judged on his time as Tottenham boss until after next season

That run saw them knocked out of the ­Champions League at the last-16 stage by RB Leipzig and the FA Cup on penalties to Premier League strugglers ­Norwich.

Hopes of a top-four ­finish have also been ­hampered by defeats against Chelsea and Wolves, and a draw with Burnley just three months after Spurs thumped Sean Dyche’s side 5-0.

There have been mitigating factors, of course, with Harry Kane injured for much of that period.

Kane ruptured a tendon in his left hamstring during a 1-0 ­defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day.

Tottenham have endured a poor run of form following a promising start after Mourinho took charge in November

And Heung-min Son, the man who has stepped up to the plate for Spurs in recent seasons when Kane has ­suffered lay-offs, has also been missing after ­fracturing his right arm against Aston Villa last month.

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That has not been enough to stop the flak aimed at Mourinho, though, with some fans and pundits claiming he is now ­yesterday’s man.

Berbatov thinks that it is ­unfair and doesn’t want to see a rush to judge Mourinho’s time in north London, given the team had gone off the boil under his predecessor.

The Bulgarian said: “Things had gone sour under Mauricio Pochettino, anybody could see that, and I thought Jose Mourinho was a good choice to replace him.

Spurs haven’t been helped by an injury to Harry Kane, pictured back in training earlier this month

“Tottenham haven’t gone ­backwards. Any head coach deserves a full ­season to bring in his players and implement his ­philosophy.

“Spurs are going through a ­difficult period, but Mourinho should be judged on next season at the club.”

Rather than lay the blame for Spurs’ woes at ­Mourinho’s feet, Berbatov questions the role of his squad in the club’s downturn in form.

He added: “Players take time to adjust to a new ­manager, ­especially when it’s one with a different style to his predecessor.

Heung-min Son, who has stepped in for Kane in recent seasons, has also been sidelined

“Occasionally, I get the ­feeling that some players are not playing for the team, and that they are trying to take the glory for themselves. That can ruin scoring chances.

“When he’s back, Spurs should try to r­elease Son quicker on the counter-attack.

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“These small details make all the difference in football.”

Obviously, there is much ­uncertainty in the game ­during the enforced hiatus and what to do about the summer transfer window ­remains to be seen.

Berbatov, pictured in his playing days for Tottenham, expects Mourinho to spend in the summer

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Whatever happens, ­Berbatov is adamant ­Mourinho should be pushing chairman Daniel Levy to r­elease some funds in the summer to begin the rebuild.

Berbatov, a Betfair brand ambassador, added: “They have quality throughout the squad, and the players they have should do better.

“Mourinho has criticised ­Tanguy Ndombele, but he’s young and can still succeed.

“Steven Bergwijn started well and looks an ­exciting prospect. But I certainly ­expect ­Mourinho to spend.”





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