The appointment of José Mourinho as Tottenham Hotspur head coach caught everyone by surprise.

The combustible Portuguese was the antithesis of the calm, measured and likeable Mauricio Pochettino, the man he replaced in North London. Equally, he was taking a job where it was the hope, rather than the expectation, to win silverware.

That was an indicator of the crossroads Mourinho was at in his career.

Sacked in each of his last three roles, by Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid, it’s been a while since the two-time Champions League winner could rightly claim to be ‘The Special One’. Not that any of those failings were his fault, of course.

An immediate uptick in performances and results looked to have vindicated Daniel Levy’s gamble. Spurs won their first three under Mourinho with Dele Alli front and centre of his immediate revolution.

Unsurprisingly, Mourinho was at his charming best, downplaying the need to spend big in January – something most expected to be a bone of contention given Levy’s famous reluctance to spend big.

Tottenham Hotspur manager José Mourinho

It couldn’t last and, after a run of three straight wins through February, Spurs are now on a five-game winless streak in all competitions. Saturday’s listless 1-1 draw at Burnley was the nadir with Alli’s penalty sparing Tottenham’s blushes.

Mourinho will point to the dual loss of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son to injury. Despite neither player kicking a ball since February 16, they account for 31 goals this season in all competitions. Spurs have scored 70. Whatever has been at fault for this season, Tottenham’s failure to replace Fernando Llorente last summer was not his doing.

Seasoned observers of Mourinho’s career will be able to spot the warning signs. We’ve already had the buzz cut – this iteration more brutal than its predecessors – and with Christian Eriksen gone, club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele has taken up the role of scapegoat.

In the first half we didn’t have a midfield,” Mourinho told BBC Sport following Saturday’s stalemate at Turf Moor.

“Of course I’m not speaking of (Oliver) Skipp because he’s a kid of 19 who’s played two hours in the last few days. I don’t criticise him at all.

“But I’m not going to run away and I have to say he [Ndombele] has had enough time to come to a different level.

“I know the Premier League is difficult, and some players take a long time to adapt to a different league.

“But a player with his potential has to give us more than he is giving us, especially when you see how Lucas (Moura), (Giovani) Lo Celso and those players are playing. I was expecting more in the first half from him.”

It was a withering assessment of the former Lyon midfielder’s display and not Mourinho’s first jibe at a player who cost £53.8million when he moved across the channel.

So, has Mourinho actually done any good since rocking up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in late November? You might be surprised. We all know what to expect from the three-time Premier League winner: a side built on defensive stability, playing direct football with an emphasis on organisation and rigid tactical demands above all else.

When you compare the passing data from Pochettino’s 12 Premier League games at the start of the season with the 17 overseen by Mourinho on a per-90 basis, there are no surprises.

Pochettino v Mourinho: Passing

Per 90 minutes
Under Mauricio Pochettino Under José Mourinho
Passes attempted526.67476.76
Passes completed441.75376.59
Long passes attempted 48.2557.76
Long passes completed 22.521
Possession duration (Seconds)12.5210.21
Passes per possession4.523.78

Under Pochettino, Spurs were attempting and completing more passes, fewer of them defined as ‘long’, holding onto the ball for longer and averaging more passes per possession. All of which sounds encouraging but, as Mourinho himself would doubtless point out, counts for very little without end product.

Ever the pragmatist, Mourinho would point to the number of goals his side are scoring and conceding on average as proof his approach has been the right one – and he would have some cause for justification, too.

Pochettino v Mourinho: Attacking

Per 90 minutes
Under Mauricio Pochettino Under José Mourinho
Chances created9.389.18
Big Chances created1.081.59
Shots 12.511.88
Shots on target 4.084.76
Open-play goals 1.421.53
Open-play xG 1.051.31

Though Tottenham created more chances and took more shots while Pochettino was in charge, the value of those efforts and the number which hit the target was lower and fewer. Mourinho’s side have been more efficient in attacking play, taking shots from higher-value positions resulting in more goals per 90, despite having fewer in total.

Tottenham Hotspur's 2019/20 Premier League shot map under José Mourinho Tottenham Hotspur's 2019/20 Premier League shot map before José Mourinho

While Mourinho has taken charge of five more Premier League games than Pochettino this term, we can see clearly from the shot maps above that Spurs’ shot selection under their current head coach has been far better.

Under Pochettino, the North Londoners were taking aim from outside the penalty area on a regular basis  – something Eriksen might have been responsible for prior to his January switch to Internazionale.

But how do they fare defensively? After all, this is Mourinho’s raison d’être, the very thing he sells himself on. No team has conceded fewer goals in a Premier League season than his title-winning Chelsea outfit of 2004/05 who were breached just 15 times.

Pochettino v Mourinho: Defensive

Per 90 minutes
Under Mauricio Pochettino Under José Mourinho
Shots conceded14.8314.23
xGA1.741.57
Goals against1.411.35

The data shows us there has been a slight improvement. But not by much. In fact, the difference is marginal and Spurs have kept just three clean sheets in all competitions since Mourinho’s appointment. Clearly that is something which will have to improve if the 57-year-old is to truly stamp his authority on this Tottenham side.

If he does that, he has half a chance of making Spurs a success once more and restoring his dwindling reputation.