Jose Mourinho has been sacked by Tottenham Hotspur less than a week before the League Cup final. He replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November 2019 and was meant to be the man to bring silverware back to Spurs but with the club in seventh, five points off the top four, he has been dismissed. We look back at three key moments that led to his dismissal…
Europa League embarrassment
Having reached the Champions League final in 2019 under Pochettino, Tottenham in their incredible new stadium were hoping to continue to fight at the top level in Europe. As it happens, the disgraceful European Super League may mean they have bought their way into that elite group of clubs anyway, but this season they fell well short.
Having made it through to the round of 16 with little bother, it was set to provide a saving grace for Mourinho, as his team lost their form in the Premier League. This competition gives the reward of Champions League football if you can win it, and could have saved his job.
However, it perhaps wasn’t the exit, but the manner in which Tottenham were eliminated which caused huge embarrassment. Taking a 2-0 lead to Dinamo Zagreb after a dominant display in the home leg, he watched on as his side crumbled to a 3-0 defeat, courtesy of a Mislav Orsic hat-trick.
“They didn't look like they were playing an important match. If for any one of them it is not important, for me it is,” he said after the match.
Repeatedly throwing away leads at home
From the swashbuckling attacking football we saw earlier in the season from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, Spurs seemed to change over the course of winter. All of a sudden they became this team that couldn’t hold onto a lead. The 3-3 against West Ham from 3-0 up, drawing 1-1 with Fulham at home having taken the lead and recently losing 3-1 to Manchester United having been 1-0 up at half-time.
No team has dropped more points from winning positions than Spurs (20) and although they have been leading in 23 Premier League games this season, the second most, they have only gone on to win 14 of those matches. "I think it has to do with some of our qualities as a team but I'm not ready to discuss with you," he told reporters, but his side had developed a belief problem and Mourinho just couldn’t find the answers.
FA Cup exit
The League Cup is still to play for and sacking him in the week leading up to a final that he has won more times (4) than any other manager seems strange, but the FA Cup exit was damaging. In an uncharacteristically thrilling game, Everton edged out his Spurs side 5-4 in the last 16, in one of the best cup ties we have seen in recent years.
Even when league form has been questionable, Mourinho has always been able to win domestic trophies to justify his position as manager. The League Cup final has clearly been ranked as not good enough by Daniel Levy as his board members, but an FA Cup could well have been enough to keep Mourinho in his job for another season.
Julian Nagelsmann 11/4
Brendan Rodgers: 3/1
Ledley King: 8/1
Nuno Espirito Santo: 10/1
Steven Gerrard: 10/1
Massimiliano Allegri: 12/1
Rafa Benitez: 16/1
Ralph Hassenhuttl: 16/1