Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino exit leaves way clear for Mourinho to take Spurs job

 

Over and out: Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham Hotspurs
Over and out: Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham Hotspurs
Jose Mourinho

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino less than six months after he took them to the Champions League final.

Pochettino, along with his coaching staff, has paid the price for a poor run of domestic form in 2019, bringing an end to a five-and-a-half-year spell at the club.

During that time he delivered four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League, which included two title challenges, a memorable run to the European Cup final last season and developed the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen into top-class players.

He also had to contend with playing at Wembley for 18 months while Tottenham's new stadium was built and went through two transfer windows without signing anyone.

But chairman Daniel Levy grew impatient with a decline in form this calendar year as Spurs took only 23 points from their last 24 Premier League games.

They have won just three times this season and as well as a 7-2 humiliation against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month, they were also beaten by League Two Colchester in the Carabao Cup.

Daniel Levy said on the club's official website: "We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board have taken lightly, nor in haste.

"Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and the beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

"It falls on the board to make the difficult decisions - this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff - but we do so in the club's best interests.

"Mauricio and his coaching staff will always be a part of our history. I have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he dealt with the difficult times away from a home ground whilst we built the new stadium and for the warmth and positivity he brought to us.

"I should like to thank him and his coaching staff for all they have contributed. They will always be welcome here.

"We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for all of our supporters."

Spurs say they will announce their new coaching staff "in due course", with former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho an early favourite to take the reins.

The Portuguese is admired by Levy, who has tried to appoint him in the past, and Mourinho has always spoken positively about Spurs.

If Mourinho is the man to replace Pochettino, he may have to work under financial constraints that he is not used to.

While Spurs have competed at the top end of the Premier League for the last four seasons, they have not matched their rivals in the spending department.

They became the first ever Premier League side not to make a signing during the summer transfer window in 2018 and then followed that up with another blank window in January.

That Spurs were still able to compete at such a level is testament to the job Pochettino did as he delivered some of their best seasons in recent years with back-to-back title challenges and their highest league finish since 1963.

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