In Depth

Spurs shock as Jose Mourinho replaces Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham confirm the ‘Special One’ as their new head coach

Football is a fickle business and doesn’t Mauricio Pochettino know it. 

Five months after guiding Tottenham to their first Champions League final, the Argentine was sacked as manager of the north London club on Tuesday night. 

Then on Wednesday morning it was confirmed that Jose Mourinho had been appointed as Tottenham’s new head coach.

Domestic strife

Pochettino, 47, was relieved of his duties after five years in charge at Spurs. Despite last season’s heroics, Tottenham have struggled this campaign and are 14th in the Premier League. There have also been rumours of dressing room discontent.

“We were extremely reluctant to make this change,” said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy in bringing the curtain down on Pochettino’s reign. “It is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste. 

“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and 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.” 

Arteta and Pochettino linked with Arsenal job

Edge over Arsenal

Although Tottenham didn’t win any silverware under Pochettino, he re-established their credentials as one of England’s top six clubs, steering them to the League Cup final in his first full season and taking them to three top-three finishes in the Premier League, including runners-up in 2017. 

More important in the eyes of some Spurs supporters, he turned the club into the dominant team in north London at the expense of Arsenal.

Ironically, Pochettino and Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta are being linked with the Arsenal job.

Special One for Spurs

Early on Wednesday morning former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Mourinho was confirmed by Levy as Pochettino’s replacement. 

The “Special One” said: “I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters. The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

Chairman Levy added: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.” 

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Reactions to Pochettino’s sacking

Dele Alli, Tottenham midfielder

“I can’t thank this man enough. He’s taught me so much and I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for me. Good luck and hope to see you again my friend.”

Gary Lineker, former Tottenham striker and now TV pundit 

“He helped the club to punch massively above their weight for years. Good luck with finding a better replacement… ain’t gonna happen.” 

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport

“It is undoubtedly a high-risk gamble by Levy. He will be well aware of the criticism he will face if his decision to sack him backfires - now he faces a defining moment of his time as chairman.” 

James Gheerbrant, The Times

“A sense of staleness has taken hold. Opportunities to refresh the squad have not been taken. While Spurs were constructing their stadium, the club failed to address the cracks appearing in the squad.” 

Darren Lewis, Daily Mirror

“The relationship between Pochettino and Levy had collapsed. The Spurs chairman had grown tired of the Argentine eyeing up an exit strategy. Pochettino was unhappy at being blamed for the malaise he felt had begun when the club failed to complete their overhaul during the summer.”

Today’s back pages

‘Goodbye Pochettino… hello Mourinho’ at Spurs

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