GETTING Tottenham’s defence in order will be the biggest priority for Jose Mourinho on the pitch.
Off it, it will be sorting out the contract situations of centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, plus midfielder Christian Eriksen.
If they don’t want to stay, he has to move them on in January to avoid losing them for nothing in the summer.
In terms of importance, it’s the equivalent of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino to Liverpool.
Belgians Alderweireld and Vertonghen have been a fantastic pairing, providing a solid base for years under Mauricio Pochettino. In the previous four seasons Spurs have always been in the top-four in terms of fewest goals conceded.
But this season they are joint-15th having already let in 17 in 12 games.
Having a reliable centre-back pairing and defensive midfielder have been hallmarks of all of Mourinho’s successful teams.
At Chelsea it was John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Claude Makelele in his first spell, with Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic alongside Terry in his second.
We all know the problems at Manchester United, where he didn’t have a defensive pairing he trusted implicitly.
Mourinho has been pigeon-holed as playing a certain way and there has already been a lot of talk about his defensive style.
People forget in five of his seven seasons in the Premier League his teams have been in the top-three for goals scored, while his Real Madrid side still hold the LaLiga record from 2012 with 121.
Mourinho is inheriting a better team than he did at United, and in many ways there isn’t that much to do.
For the man himself, this feels like last chance saloon for him in England.
If it doesn’t work out, where does he go?
In a way it’s his biggest job in the Premier League, and getting those contracts and the defence sorted are top of his priority list.