Mourinho hates being told he’s no longer capable – and it’s driving Tottenham on

The last time Jose Mourinho won the Premier League title, Barcelona were still the best team in the world and David Cameron was still Prime Minister.

That was back in 2015 when the Spanish giants became the first European side to win the treble twice and Lionel Messi was at the peak of his powers. Cameron would argue that he was as well.

Much has changed since then. Barca have crumbled from a powerhouse to a shambles of a club without leadership and direction, while Cameron has become nothing more than an afterthought of a man who once led us towards Brexit – without even intending to.

But while these two battle to save what is left of their reputations, Mourinho has set about the task of enhancing his.

That's quite a challenge for one of the most decorated managers of all time, having won 26 major trophies, including two Champions Leagues and domestic titles in four different countries.

Since leading Chelsea to the league crown five years ago, Mourinho has been derided, including in this column, as a "has been" and someone on the wane who "the game has now left behind."

Mourinho has been written off more times than Tiger Woods and Tom Jones combined. More times than he will care to remember, in fact.

But Mourinho WILL remember, because he hates seeing his abilities challenged – and he hates even more being told he is no longer capable of cutting the managerial mustard.

Such hatred now appears to be driving Mourinho towards the chance of pulling off what would be the most remarkable achievement of his long and distinguished career – winning the title with Tottenham.

Since losing the opening game of the season to Everton, Spurs had engineered an unbeaten run of 10 games in all competitions before Thursday's lapse at Royal Antwerp in the Europa League.

Spurs head into Sunday's visit of Brighton sitting menacingly placed in the table, tucked in behind those who are actually expected to challenge for the ultimate prize in English football.

Let's be clear, no-one should be getting carried away by a 1-0 win at Burnley, but Spurs' gritty triumph over Sean Dyche's men earlier this week provided a clear sign that Mourinho is now moulding a team capable of being as horrible as he can be sometimes.

Mourinho isn't interested in winning beauty contests. Spurs might have stuck six past Manchester United and five on Southampton already, but he knows grinding out 1-0 wins at places like Turf Moor are the sort of result that deliver titles.

Mourinho will be hoping the defeat in Antwerp was just a blip and that Spurs can continue to show they have more backbone. Mourinho has got most of his stars to buy into his methods, Harry Kane is playing some of the best football of his life and chairman Daniel Levy has furnished his manager with some significant signings, including Gareth Bale.

Mourinho still has his flaws and we all know what these are, but he has been a master of building title-winning sides down the years and appears hell-bent on proving he can do so again.

This season could be carnage. Covid-19 has turned football upside down and we are seeing freak results on a regular basis, while Liverpool have lost Virgil Van Dijk, Manchester City are not the force of old and United and Chelsea remain works in progress.

So are Spurs, but the difference is they have a manager with bucket loads of experience – so wouldn't it be just typical of him to bring some normality to proceedings, win the title and prove he isn't the dinosaur we think he has now become?

Rashford deserves SPOTY – the criteria has been thrown out of the window before

The debate is raging about who should win this year's BBC 'Sports Personality of the Year Award'.

It appears to be a race between Marcus Rashford, Lewis Hamilton and Tyson Fury.

My vote would go to Rashford, simply because the clue is in the title and the England and Manchester United superstar has shown time and again in 2020 what a huge personality he has become both on and off the pitch.

The criteria cites 'sporting achievements', but this argument collapses when considering the likes of Zara Phillips and Greg Rusedski have won it in the past.

Yet Rashford should be given an even bigger honour than the one the Beeb will hand out in December. The ultimate one, in fact.

It's unlikely Her Majesty will read these pages, but she needs to give serious thought to knighting Rashford in her New Year's Honours list.

His crusading campaign calling on the Government to help feed Britain's most impoverished children has been an astonishing act for someone who only turned 23 on Saturday – and deserves the highest recognition.

Rashford has put food on the tables of those who need some the most, but just as importantly, he has given people of this nation hope at a time when there feels like there is none.

He's used his privileged position and profile for the greater good – and united people when division continues to tear the country apart due to the impact of Covid-19.

And let's be honest, if the likes of Philip Green, Fred Goodwin and Geoff Boycott can be tapped on the shoulder, then Rashford getting a knighthood is an absolute no brainer.

GOOD WEEK FOR

Diego Maradona – The football legend has just celebrated his 60th birthday. Don't ask me how, because most people thought he wouldn't make it to this age.

Ben Stokes – The England cricket sensation reminded us of his gifts with a stunning 107 off 60 balls to help Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians in the IPL, earning huge praise from Sachin Tendulker, no less.

Max Jowitt – The Wakefield Trinity star scored a stunning hat-trick to help his side beat Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos for a third Super League win in a row.

BAD WEEK FOR

Jesse Lingard – Yet another video was posted on social media this week of him imitating Paul Pogba's body language in the Manchester United gym. Wouldn't his time be better served imitating himself – and the footballer that once helped England get to a World Cup semi final?

Dele Alli – Given a rare Spurs start then hauled off at half time of the 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp. His career is going backwards at a rapid rate of knotts.

Rugby Union – The death of Wales and British Lions legend JJ Williams has saddened the sporting world. He was a true giant of the game.

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