Sue Smith – Gerhard Struber is right fit for Barnsley but will Jose Mourinho work for Tottenham Hotspur?

Sports Weekend columnist Sue Smith
Sports Weekend columnist Sue Smith
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Barnsley and Tottenham Hotspur could hardly be much further apart as football clubs, and the way they have changed managers this week has been completely different.

Both lost popular leaders after difficult starts to the season, but while the Reds have taken their time picking a replacement in Gerhard Struber, who fits their style of play, Spurs have quickly moved in the opposite direction.

New Tottenham Hotspur manager: Jose Mourinho.

New Tottenham Hotspur manager: Jose Mourinho.

It seems to me that Barnsley’s is a better way of doing it.

I’ve got quite a few friends who are Spurs fans and they were absolutely devastated when Mauricio Pochettino was dismissed on Tuesday.

If the news caught me by surprise as I was watching “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, I was shocked to see Jose Mourinho appointed straight away, too.

Will he fit in with “The Tottenham way”? Does that matter?

Mourinho’s style of play and his man-management will be very different. It will be a big change for the players and they do not have long to get their heads around it.

Sue Smith

Mourinho’s style of play and his man-management will be very different. It will be a big change for the players and they do not have long to get their heads around it.

Normally when clubs change manager during an international break, they do it early, so waiting until the second Tuesday did not leave Mourinho long to prepare his players for today’s lunchtime kick-off at West Ham United.

His style and philosophy will take a few months to impose. Struber is another disciple of the “gegenpressing” style Daniel Stendel won promotion from League One with last season.

The Spurs board will notice the change, too. Mourinho is renowned for wanting large amounts of transfer money, and preferring tried and trusted players to the youngsters Pochettino promoted. Struber has a reputation for developing youngsters, so if Barnsley continue to be frugal, it should not bother him too much.

Gerhard Struber, (middle) pictured with Max Senft and Matt Rose. (Picture: JPIMedia)

Gerhard Struber, (middle) pictured with Max Senft and Matt Rose. (Picture: JPIMedia)

You might say that if what Barnsley and Spurs were doing was not working, why have more of the same? But you can still play a similar style and bring different ideas.

You would think Mourinho would win the fans over if he gets results straight away but Pochettino failed to bring major silverware and they did not hold it against him, just as they never really warmed to the only two managers to win a trophy there since Terry Venables – George Graham and Juande Ramos.

Sam Allardyce saved Everton from relegation and led West Ham out of the Championship and up to 11th in the Premier League, but never won either set of supporters over because his football did not fit the club’s way of playing, so we wait to see if winning does the trick for Mourinho.

Pochettino had a big problem with quality players running down their contracts, but the biggest issue was not properly replacing full-back Kieran Trippier.

At Barnsley, Kieffer Moore, Adam Davies, Ethan Pinnock and Liam Lindsay were replaced with youngsters unproven in the Championship. I felt really sorry for Stendel.

But players can get bored and sometimes you just need to freshen things up, which is why you often see a “new manager bounce”. Suddenly, players have to impress a bit more in training and there can be a freshness with some new sessions.

Barnsley were victims of that in their last game, Michael O’Neill’s first in charge of Stoke City.

Danny Cowley has had a big impact since he came in at Huddersfield Town, although I am not in the least bit surprised.

I have worked with Danny a few times on television and he is one of those people you want to see do well. He has certainly earned his stripes coming up through the leagues.

He is obsessed with football – men’s, women’s, he will watch anything he is so addicted. He is also extremely knowledgeable.

He does a lot in the community and makes sure he speaks to fans and everyone within the club. If your manager takes five minutes out of his day to speak to you, that can make a big difference.

I just hope he can take Huddersfield and his own career to the next level.

Keeping Barnsley at Championship level is Struber’s challenge. He has some good young players to work with and it is such a tight league that if you can string five or six results together it can make a huge difference. I wish him well.