In less than 12 hours after the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur confirmed on Wednesday that Jose Mourinho will be taking over as the new head coach.
Commenting on the appointment, Chairman Daniel Levy told the club website, “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.”
On his part, Mourinho said he was thrilled to join the club.
“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,” he said.
Mourinho, who was sacked by Manchester United 11 months ago, was reportedly holding talks late into Tuesday night with both sides believing a deal was close.
The Portuguese former Chelsea was then announced as manager as early as Wednesday morning. He is expected to be unveiled at a press conference Thursday and take charge for the home game against West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, according to sources in England.
The statement from the North London club said, “Jose is one of the world’s most accomplished managers having won 25 senior trophies. He is renowned for his tactical prowess and has managed FC Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United. He has won a domestic title in a record four different countries [Portugal, England, Italy and Spain] and is one of only three managers to have won the UEFA Champions League twice with two clubs, FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. He is also a three-time Premier League Champion with Chelsea [2005, 2006, 2015].”
Tottenham are languishing 14th in England’s Premier League after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games, and were eliminated from the League Cup in September by fourth-tier Colchester United.
“The club can today announce that Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez have been relieved of their duties,” Tottenham said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes since arriving from Southampton in 2014, despite failing to win a trophy.
During his five full seasons in charge, Tottenham qualified for the Champions League four times, culminating in a dramatic run to the club’s first ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
However, domestic results had been on the decline since February, with Spurs clinging on to a top-four finish last season despite winning just three of their final 12 league games.
That form has continued at the start of this season and Pochettino leaves the club 11 points outside the Premier League top four, 20 behind leaders Liverpool and just six points above the relegation zone.
Spurs suffered an embarrassing 7-2 thrashing at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League in September, but are well-placed to reach the last 16 behind the German giants in Group B.
Much of Pochettino’s success came from nurturing a squad of young players into household names such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
Spurs and England forward Harry Kane paid a warm tribute to Pochettino.
“Gaffer. I’ll be forever thankful to you for helping me achieve my dreams,” the England captain tweeted.
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Mourinho won Champions League titles at home with Porto and then in Italy with Inter Milan. The 56-year-old also won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea, and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.
He was sacked last December following a poor run and has been without a club since, most recently working as a TV pundit. His first match in charge will be the London derby at West Ham on Saturday.
Former Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt told the BBC that Spurs were forced to act after a poor run.
“I think everyone at the club will always have great affection for Mauricio, but as a board of directors you have to look at the way things are going and the board had to make a decision.”
Despite their recent bad results, Tottenham thrived under Pochettino’s leadership.
They qualified for the Champions League four times, culminating in a dramatic run to the club’s first-ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.