Eye on England: Mourinho might be the perfect hire for Tottenham
James Baylis - AMA / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Every Monday, theScore's Daniel Rouse breaks down the weekend that was in English football. Welcome to the "Eye on England."

Tottenham Hotspur weren't done. Jan Vertonghen, who was trampled on for most of the previous 90 minutes, peeled himself from the underside of Adama Traore's boots to encroach on Wolverhampton Wanderers' box for a corner. Seconds later, he put Spurs 2-1 up.

"Each coach has a different mentality. He always talks to us. He tries to put in our ­mentality that we are strong, that we are a big club, that we are winners," Lucas Moura revealed about Jose Mourinho's management style before scoring first in Sunday's match at Molineux.

The players are listening. Mourinho's team was second-best in the Black Country, but a collective which stumbled to three losses and four draws from winning positions under Mauricio Pochettino this season, dug in. It wasn't an outing with the verve and vivid vertical lines from the previous six games of Mourinho's reign; instead, it was one where Spurs won ugly against a dangerous opponent. In many ways, it was a quintessential Mourinho performance.

Over the opening month of his tenure, Mourinho has blended his own tactical preferences with those which suit the players he's inherited in north London. So far, the results are encouraging.

The Portuguese manager has elected for his favored 4-2-3-1 formation as Spurs' base shape and - continuing his long-running admiration for dependable and less fashionable midfielders like Esteban Cambiasso and Nemanja Matic - has swiftly installed Eric Dier as a regular starter.

Adam Pretty / Bongarts / Getty

Compared to some of the leading lights in the Spurs squad, Dier is a dull bauble hanging on the far side of the tree. Yet, his introduction addressed a faulty section of Pochettino's lineup. Individually, Harry Winks' work in possession and Moussa Sissoko's ball-carrying ability would enhance many midfields. But together, they didn't offer a reliable screen in front of the backline. Dier's measured presence simultaneously provides greater protection ahead of Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, while liberating his more adventurous partner in a double pivot.

Although he generally grafted deeper against Wolves, Dele Alli's improvement in an advanced role under Mourinho is well-documented. Harry Kane's underrated knack of withdrawing from a No. 9 slot to conduct attacks is utilized with three runners overlapping, and Alderweireld is also key to unleashing the frontmen since he's raised his number of long balls from the heart of the defense.

The most significant tactical tweak has occurred in the full-back positions, though. Mourinho has made amends for Serge Aurier's defensive instability by thrusting him higher up the pitch when Spurs have the ball while selecting a left-back who stays deep in support of the center-halves. Given Danny Rose's continued decline and Ben Davies' limitations, it's no surprise the latter's duties have fallen to Spurs match-winner Vertonghen.

The lopsided configuration presents Tottenham with an attacking quintet when Aurier is upfield, and the balance can be tipped with simple changes in personnel. Ryan Sessegnon could be a more attack-minded candidate on the left of a back-four, with Juan Foyth taking Aurier's place to fulfill a conservative job on the other side.

Mourinho is currently showing little desire to divert from his 4-2-3-1 foundation. That may change over time as he signs his own players and racks up the minutes on the training pitches, but the early days under the decorated manager are promising. Maybe, just maybe, Mourinho can give this exciting Spurs' generation the belief required to capture that elusive piece of silverware.

Following all the ridicule which followed his appointment by Daniel Levy, Mourinho might be exactly what Tottenham needed.

"We went about a year without winning a Premier League game away and we've managed two in a short amount of time," Mourinho said after Sunday's victory. "Now, we are not looking to the bottom of the table. We're looking higher up."

Further thoughts

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Top Billing

Only relegated pair Fulham and Huddersfield Town conceded more goals than Bournemouth last season, but, on Saturday's trip to Chelsea, Eddie Howe relied on his team's defensive nous in an encouraging 1-0 win.

Jack Stacey hooked onto Christian Pulisic, ensuring the American didn't log a shot on target, key pass, accurate cross, or successful take-on during his 64 minutes on the pitch. Chris Mepham repeatedly repelled danger alongside 34-year-old Simon Francis at the back. The most crucial player in the Cherries' gameplan, however, was midfielder Philip Billing.

Billing constantly blocked the passing lanes to Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount with his indefatigable and intelligent work off the ball, easing his way to nine interceptions and nine clearances against Frank Lampard's toothless troop. With more performances like his outing in west London, the 23-year-old will be attracting interest from the upper echelons of the Premier League table.

Well said, Klopp

Jurgen Klopp was unsurprisingly drawn to the subject of fixture congestion as he prepares for matches against Aston Villa and Monterrey on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in two separate continents.

"Today I read the top clubs want more games in the Champions League," the Liverpool manager said after his side beat Watford 2-0 on Saturday. "I am not involved in these plans. That's absolute bollocks."

More matches aren't a good thing for fans. UEFA's plot to expand the Champions League is led by greed and would seriously harm the on-pitch quality. Players would have less time to recuperate and managers would have fewer days to concoct gameplans.

Stoke the flames

For years, Stoke City were saddled with a reputation of championing ghastly, route-one football. There was little concern for pretty, intricate moves while Abdoulaye Faye bludgeoned clearances and Rory Delap mopped wet balls before launching his trademark long throw-ins. At least Ricardo Fuller bundled in a goal every now and then.

The same can't be said for Saturday's incarnation of the Potters. Stoke - blessed with former Premier League regulars Joe Allen, James McClean, and Tom Ince - had no firepower for Reading's Championship visit, playing the whole 90 minutes without registering a shot on target.

A team failing to trouble the goalkeeper is nothing new, but two teams failing to do so is rare. Reading also failed to count a shot on target, doing little to relieve fans' concerns about the possibility of relegation. The last time both teams were wayward with their efforts in a Championship match was December 2012.

Thoughts go to the 22,000 people who watched that drivel in Staffordshire.

# Team Played Goal difference Points
18 Reading 21 -2 23
19 Huddersfield 22 -10 22
20 Middlesbrough 22 -12 21
21 Luton Town 22 -18 20
22 Stoke City 22 -11 18
23 Wigan 22 -15 18
24 Barnsley 22 -16 16
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Eye on England: Mourinho might be the perfect hire for Tottenham
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