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Can Tottenham sustain their title challenge?

Can Tottenham sustain their title challenge?

Many criticised the appointment of Jose Mourinho as Tottenham Hotspur manager last year, particularly in light of the success former head coach Mauricio Pochettino had brought to the role. Despite reaching the Champions League final just a few months earlier, Pochettino was given his marching orders after a poor start to the 2019-20 season, and before long Mourinho was making himself at home in the manager's office.

The Portuguese coach's difficult spell at Manchester United was pointed to as the reason why he was not up to the task of bringing Tottenham back to their best, but Mourinho had an instant impact, getting more committed performances out of the players, and while there were still plenty of inconsistencies for the rest of the season, Spurs ended up qualifying for the Europa League, when at one stage a mid-table finish had looked on the cards.

Fast forward to the current campaign, and Tottenham are riding the crest of a wave. Sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table, level on points with champions Liverpool and ahead on goal difference, it's fair to say that many of Mourinho's doubters have been made to eat their humble pie. They are now one of the favourites for the title in the Premier League odds from Betfair, and it's no surprise given the consistency of their performances, having not tasted defeat since their opening-day loss to Everton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Whatever doubts there were surrounding Tottenham's credentials as title challengers have been quashed in recent weeks, after Spurs kept clean sheets in three difficult fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal respectively. Wins in the latter two matches have given supporters hope that perhaps this could be the year where the team delivers Spurs' first English league title since 1961.

But while Spurs have made a terrific start, questions remain over whether they can sustain this title charge over the course of the entire campaign. For a team to finish sixth in one season, and go on to win the title the next, would be a rare feat, but with many of the top six sides failing to find their best form in the early stages of the season, perhaps it's not out of the question for Spurs to last the course.

Mourinho has tightened them up defensively, with Tottenham boasting the best defence in the league in terms of goals conceded. In many ways, Mourinho has imparted his signature style, making an entire team one strong defensive unit, geared towards stifling the opposition and taking their own chances with maximum efficiency when they come along. It's a tactic that worked wonders against Manchester City and Arsenal, with Spurs emerging with six points and no goals conceded from those two matches, while the 0-0 draw with Chelsea also saw the team dampen the spirits of one of the Premier League's best attacks.

In contrast to the last few Premier League seasons, where both Manchester City and Liverpool have dominated to win the title, establishing massive leads over the chasing pack, this campaign looks set to be significantly tighter, as no team can seem to find the consistency needed to take the title race by the scruff of the neck. Spurs will have their work cut out, of course, with Liverpool hot on their heels and Chelsea and Manchester City eager to challenge as well, but with Mourinho at the helm, it feels as though Tottenham have never been in a better position to end the club's 60-year title drought.

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