Amid fury and condemnation from supporters over their involvement in the European Super League, Tottenham Hotspur begin life after Jose Mourinho when they welcome Southampton to North London in Wednesday’s Premier League clash.
The hosts could only take a point from a 2-2 draw with Everton on Friday evening, whereas Southampton’s FA Cup journey ended at the hands of Leicester City in the semi-finals.
Mere hours after announcing their involvement in the controversial European Super League, Tottenham confirmed that Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous time in the North London dugout had come to an end, just six days before Spurs bid to end their trophy drought in the EFL Cup final.
If threats by football’s governing bodies are anything to go by, Tottenham will not be plying their trade in the Premier League for much longer, so interim coach Ryan Mason must make the remainder of the league campaign count if Spurs do indeed join football’s superpowers in the breakaway European Super League.
Tottenham’s recent performances have not personified that of a leading continental club, though, with the North London side now winless in three Premier League matches and relying on the brilliance of Harry Kane to propel them to a point at Goodison Park last time out.
The England captain was on hand to capitalise on two lapses of concentration from Everton’s defence, but former Lilywhites playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson was the thorn in Mourinho’s side on Merseyside as his brace ensured that the spoils were shared on Friday.
Spurs fans were not best pleased with the club’s announcement of their European Super League plans – an act which rubbed salt into the wounds after they witnessed Kane limp off injured against Everton – and Mourinho leaves the seventh-placed Lilywhites are five points adrift of the top four with seven games left to play.
However, Spurs did manage to string together a three-game winning streak at home before Manchester United came, saw and conquered, and Mourinho has departed before running the risk of losing 10 home games at a single club for the first time ever, so 29-year-old Mason is under enormous pressure to spark an immediate revival in the capital.
Tottenham will travel to Wembley for the EFL Cup final on April 25, but Southampton’s trip to the home of English football ended in dismay at the weekend, as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side bowed out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage following a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City.
The prolific Kelechi Iheanacho struck the game’s only goal in front of 4,000 fans on Sunday evening, and any faint hopes of Southampton ending the season on a high now rests solely on their Premier League fortunes, which will not inspire much confidence within the ranks either.
Hasenhuttl’s side were firmly in the European conversation during the earliest stages of the campaign, but their torrid turnaround in fortunes sees them occupy 14th spot in the table, and they are not entirely safe just yet as nine points separate them from 18th-placed Fulham, who have played two games more.
The Saints have suffered defeat in 11 of their last 14 top-flight matches, including seven of their last eight away from home, and their tally of 10 points from 15 matches since the turn of the year is the fewest out of all 20 Premier League clubs, although an easing injury list should help Hasenhuttl steer his side away from the unforeseen threat of relegation.
Kane and Son Heung-min must still feature in the nightmares of Southampton supporters after their deadly double act in September’s 5-2 win for Spurs, and the Lilywhites have come up trumps in eight of their last nine home games against the Saints – most recently losing 2-1 in May 2016.
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Southampton Premier League form:
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