Tottenham's Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, Moussa Sissoko and Erik Lamela speak to SBS's Nick Stoll about what it was like to be followed by cameras everywhere, what Jose Mourinho is really like and why in-fighting is normal.
When Tottenham agreed to let Amazon’s cameras in to do a ‘fly-on-the-wall documentary’ they couldn’t have predicted how badly the 2019-20 season would go.
Spurs had just made it to a Champions League final, they had just started playing at their impressive state-of-the-art stadium and they had just spent £90 million ($164M AUD) on three new players.
This is the third iteration of All or Nothing following a football team.
With Manchester City we saw them win the Premier League, while setting the record for most points, most wins and most goals.
With Brazil, we saw them win the Copa America on home soil. Their first major trophy in 13 years.
With Tottenham we saw them sack their coach, finish with their worst points total since 2009, star players get injured, record signings fail to gel, one player jump in the stands to fight a spectator and the team get repeatedly knocked out of cup competitions. Not to mention the global pandemic.
Rival fans were as excited to bask in the schadenfreude as Spurs fans were to get an inside look.
“Was good for Amazon, but for us, it was sad to watch, because there were a lot of unlucky things happening,” says star Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.
“You can’t just choose the season that you’ll be successful.”
“When we started the season we didn’t feel comfortable (with the cameras). They were everywhere. But fans love it, even non-football fans love it.”
The nine-episode series showcases the good and some of the bad of charismatic coach Jose Mourinho.
But how did Mourinho, who has never been shy with the media, feel about the documentary.
“You ask me if I love it? No, I hate it. No, I didn’t watch it and I’m not going to,” Mourinho told a press conference in September.
Son did watch it, but he didn’t love what he saw.
“I agree with the Gaffer (that it is weird and uncomfortable). When I watched it was so weird. Even my voice. Even the way we play and train,” Son says.
“As a player, it is difficult to watch. Reliving bad moments every single episode. But, the people watching the documentary will have so much fun.”
Son insisted that the cameras didn’t change the players and coaches behaviour, but his teammate Moussa Sissoko admits that it did have an influence.
“In some moments you act differently because you know they are recording,” Sissoko says.
“If you want to say something privately to someone, you can’t. Maybe it will be in the documentary. You need to be careful sometimes. With time it became normal.”
Son laughs when he tells the story of catching Sissoko watching the documentary on an away trip for a Europa League match.
“He was really focused, he was only watching his scenes,” Son says.
The documentary shows multiple instances on in-fighting within the playing group.
Son and captain Hugo Lloris had to be pulled apart by teammates during a match against Everton.
“With Hugo, this just happens during the game. We wanted to win, and we were emotional. After the game, it was all fine.”
Another instance shows Lucas Moura clashing with Serge Aurier in training.
“It’s completely normal. Everyone wants to win. In the training session, the head is hot. You can not stop and say ‘please do this’ - we want to win. As the coach says if we take it (that tension and passion) in a good way it will help,” Moura says.
The star of the documentary is undoubtedly Mourinho, whether it’s his passionate team-talks full of profanity or the way he reacts to constant set-backs.
But what was it like when Mauricio Pochettino left after five years with the club?
“I was on international break when I heard that Pochettino was sacked. I was really sad because we had a really good relationship. I think everyone did, so it was really sad,” said Son.
“But it is a part of football and then one of the best managers in the world comes in.
“It was incredible when I met him for the first time. I couldn’t believe it.
“When I was a kid I watched him win so many games and trophies, and now I’m working with him.
Moura admits he was slightly worried due to Mourinho’s reputation.
“When Mourinho signed I was excited, but a little afraid also. But after the first day I knew we’d have a good relationship,” Moura says.
“He’s a very honest guy. He always says straight to you what he thinks. I love it when it is like this.
Throughout the documentary, Mourinho demands that his team stop being ‘nice guys’ and instead be ‘c*nts’.
"For 90 minutes you cannot be nice, you have to be a bunch of c*nts, intelligent c*nts, not stupid c*nts, b**tards in the sense you are going to win matches!" Mourinho yells at his players.
So did they change? Are they less ‘nice’?
“I think we are in a good way. I think he likes what we are doing now,” Moura says.
Erik Lamela, who recently caused controversy for going down very easily against Manchester United which resulted in Anthony Martial being sent-off, agrees with Moura.
“We have to listen to the manager, we need to be more clever in different aspects,” Lamela says.
Son is full of praise for Mourinho’s methods.
“I wouldn’t say he’s difficult to be around. He has a winning mentality and he can bring us success,” says Son.
“With the players, I don't know how to say it, I really enjoy it, I think some people misunderstand how he behaves. I think he’s been fantastic with us.
“It’s been fantastic to work with him, we’ve started really well (this season) and I hope this continues.”
Tottenham are currently sixth, but the most exciting thing for Spurs fans - apart from the return of Gareth Bale - is the form of Son.
Six goals in four Premier League matches, he has formed an impressive partnership with Harry Kane who has six assists in those games.
Every single player I’m close with but ‘H’ (Kane) especially. We go to training together sometimes,” says Son.
“We have a really good relationship. Harry understands me so well. We are always talking in training about tactics.”
So after they failed to qualify for the Champions League or win a trophy last season, which one will they focus on?
Lucas Moura says they have everything they need to win a trophy for the first time since 2008.
“Personally I want to win a trophy. Every trophy is important, even if it’s a cup it’s not easy to win,” Moura says.
“We have all that we need. We have a great squad, a great structure, a great stadium and a great coach”
They have it all, but their fans will be desperately hoping this season doesn’t once again end with nothing.