Jose Mourinho deserves "a lot of credit" for guiding Tottenham to sixth place, according to Darren Bent, who says the Spurs manager's methods are "clearly working".
Spurs had slipped way down to 14th in the Premier League standings when Jose Mourinho was drafted in to replace Mauricio Pochettino in the hot seat back in November.
Mourinho's arrival had the desired impact initially, as Spurs won five of their first seven games under the Portuguese, before an inconsistent Christmas period threatened to derail their campaign once again.
Tottenham were decimated by injuries to key personnel in the new year, and found themselves out of the FA Cup, Champions League and top-four race by the time the coronavirus outbreak stopped play in March.
However, Mourinho was able to welcome back the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli when the top-flight resumed in June, which helped ensure a strong finish to the campaign.
Spurs recorded five wins, three draws and just one defeat in their last nine matches to secure Europa League qualification, with Mourinho beaming with pride after a final-day draw at Crystal Palace.
"After lockdown, we finished third or fourth in the table. That is where we belong. I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players, a pitch full of players," he told reporters post-match.
Bent says the former Chelsea and Manchester United head coach is right to be proud of his efforts over the past nine months, and he has backed Tottenham to kick on and emerge as an elite force again in 2020-21.
“For them to finish sixth this year, what an achievement that is. They were way out of the race and to come back into it, Mourinho’s got to take a lot of credit," the former Spurs striker told Football Insider.
“He knows full well they need to do better next season and so he’ll have his eye on who he wants and the players he wants but first and foremost we’ve got to give him a round of applause and say job well done.
“The staggering stat that no manager had won more games than Mourinho, other than Klopp and Guardiola since he took the job, that is an unbelievable stat – whatever football he’s playing, it’s clearly working.
“He’s done a very, very good job and I expect them to be better next season. It’s a really big season for some of their players, the likes of Harry Kane – what does he do next season with the ambition he shows? That’s a really, really big year for him.
“First and foremost they need to go and get some players but I fully expect, once Mourinho’s got a full summer in, I expect them to be even better next season.”