He was hailed as the man who could grab Tottenham Hotspur by the scruff of the neck, then lead the club to greater things. Depending on which perspect
He was hailed as the man who could grab Tottenham Hotspur by the scruff of the neck, then lead the club to greater things. Depending on which perspective you care to take, fortunately, or even unfortunately, the tenure of Jose Mourinho has now come to a sudden end. The sacking comes just days ahead of the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and his old foe Pep Guardiola.
The vastly experienced and previously successful Portuguese coach lasted 17 months in the job. He steered the team to sixth position in the Premier League last season, and even briefly to top of the table this season, along with guiding Spurs to the Carabao Cup final on 25 April. However, the drastic slump in league form has forced the hand of chairman Daniel Levy, who decided to wield the axe.
Nestling amongst the top four and qualifying for the Champions League, these were undoubtedly the minimum requirements tasked of Mourinho ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. However, even with an in-form Harry Kane, who is the 5/6 favourite to finish as top goalscorer in the latest English Premier League odds, Spurs are highly likely to miss out.
Having struggled for points through January and into February, five defeats in six games dragged Tottenham away from being genuine top-four contenders. Three wins on the spin heading into March buoyed the flagging hopes of clinching a Champions League berth, yet once again, a lack of consistency conspired to frustrate both the manager and his team.
Beyond the typically polite and courteous official club statement, announcing that Mourinho and his coaching staff had been relieved of their duties, tales of angst and acrimony have been steadily emerging from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. On top of mixed feelings about his approach to football by the fans, this has been a costly managerial appointment for the club.
In March and following an embarrassing Europa League exit against Dinamo Zagreb, speculation had already begun that Mourinho would be sacked. The biggest stumbling block was his contract until 2023, reportedly worth £15 million per season. Now the club has taken the decision, Mourinho will get a nice golden handshake for the remainder of that contract, while the club goes in search of their next manager.
José Mourinho is the only manager to beat Pep Guardiola in a cup final (excluding Super Cups).
He was less than a week away from trying to do it again. pic.twitter.com/dz3Q4BD8D4
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 19, 2021
Julian Nagelsmann is already being tipped as the successor, providing Tottenham can lure the 33-year-old coach away from RB Leipzig, where his team has posed a serious threat to the Bundesliga dominance of Bayern Munich. He is regarded as one of the brightest managerial prospects in European football, not to mention an entirely different kind of outlook for Spurs.
By contrast, Mourinho is now labelled as a spent force by some newspaper columnists. In an age when football continues to shift and evolve, as established methodology and coaching ideas are challenged by a new generation of coaches, 58-year-old Mourinho may struggle to find another top job.
While it may be far too soon to place Mourinho on the scrapheap, he will inevitably find his options dwindling, regardless of all the silverware and former glories he can boast. Once able to choose from amongst the richest and most powerful clubs in Europe, it seems more likely that he will be a TV pundit, rather than the head coach of a leading team in years to come.