JOSE MOURINHO knows he has to get a tune out of the players who downed their instruments under Mauricio Pochettino.
And the new Tottenham boss has already told Dele Alli he wants the England midfielder to be himself again.
Dele’s injury-hit 2019 has seen his statistics and contribution slump, although goals against Watford and Everton recently have suggested he might be regaining confidence and form.
But it was Mourinho’s training ground conversation with one of his prize assets — asking Dele if it was him or his brother — that signalled his hands-on approach.
It was a trademark Mourinho gambit, not dissimilar to him telling Frank Lampard in the Chelsea training ground showers that he could prove he was the best midfielder in the world.
Footage Spurs have put out on their social media accounts has been similarly telling.
Mourinho appears to be making a point of showing affection and warmth towards Dele, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Eric Dier.
Asked about Dele, the response was instant — and signalled he will restore him to the more attacking role that brought 46 goals in his first three seasons at the club.
Mourinho said: “He is potentially a fantastic player. Now I have to create a tactical situation he is happy with, give him the right dynamics and prepare him physically well. He has had important injuries and he is not on the top of his form.
“I cannot expect him to play at West Ham — if he plays — and go there and be man of the match.
“But he needs to go through a process that will bring the real Dele back because the real Dele is the one who in the last few years has impressed us all.”
The focus on Dier, who has become something of a forgotten man since he was diagnosed with appendicitis last December, was equally significant.
Mourinho, as he did in his stints at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, wants to be the Pied Piper of the Tottenham group.
He even claims to not be fussed about the title of “head coach” rather than “manager” — an issue that became a divide between Pochettino and chairman Daniel Levy.
Mourinho said: “There are no ‘managers’ in modern football. In reality, who is the manager of any football club?
“It’s a title but what’s a title? We are part of a structure. We don’t work alone.
“We need other people and it depends on the way the club is structured.
“You have a president or a chief executive and you have you have assets to develop.
“What I am is the head coach.
“Nobody else will decide which team is going to play. Nobody will decide when I’m going to train or give them a day off. That’s my responsibility.
“But if you think in modern football that you are all-powerful, you are in trouble.”
As for what Mourinho can deliver at Spurs, there was a slight dig at the Pochettino legacy before his mission statement.
He added: “The fans must be happy. The players must be happy and I must be also happy.
“This is a process. I’m going to try to make some tactical ticks, if you can say that, not incredible changes.
“I’m not going now to try to be Einstein but I’m going to try to make the players play the way I want them to play.
“Offensive football, yes, but winning matches, not offensive football where you don’t win a match for ten or 11 months.
“Yes, attacking football. But you are not going to see Harry Kane playing left-back, that’s for sure.
“I would not go so far as to say I am reinventing myself.
“But I’ve thought about my career and my evolution.
“I try to define new targets for my career.
“I was very selective. I had to say no many, many times to a few clubs, good clubs with some very interesting projects.
“But I always thought to myself I have to be strong enough to wait for something that really motivates me.
“One thing is the passion you have for football.
“Another thing is to feel that you have the right challenge, the right situation in your hands ahead of you.
“This was something that really motivates me.”