Wed, Dec 11, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino is out at Tottenham as the Premier League club parted ways with its manager Tuesday less than halfway through the 2019-20 season. Pochettino had been with Spurs since 2014 and led them to the Champions League final last season in what was the team’s most successful campaign in history. However, he was fired less than six months later as Tottenham struggled to find its footing this season.

Spurs currently sit 14th in the Premier League table with 14 points, and they have won just three of their first 12 games. The team also suffered an embarrassing 7-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League but has since managed to put itself in position to qualify for the round of 16. 

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy issued the following statement after Pochettino’s sacking:

“We were extremely reluctant to make this change and 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 to 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 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 our supporters.”

Here are three takeaways from the first major coaching shakeup of the Premier League season.

1. It was too early to get rid of him

We live in a sporting world where patience almost doesn’t exist. But if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can keep his job after how much Manchester United has struggled, Pochettino certainly could still be coaching Spurs. It’s been a slow start to the campaign, the team has dealt with huge injuries like the one to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but are the expectations too high? This is a team thrilled to finish in the top four, but should they not be happy with potentially finishing in the top six and making it out of the Champions League groups stage? At the moment, Spurs are three points out of the top six and nine points out of the top four. Those are goals that are certainly attainable when you consider that there are 24 matches left in the Premier League season. Then you look at UCL where Spurs have won two in a row and are in second place with a four-point gap. They are almost assured of a spot in the knockout stage if they continue to play well in the cup. 

But sure, fire him.

2. It could be about more than just the results

The rocky season has also seen the team deal with the contract situation surrounding star midfielder Christian Eriksen. The Danish star’s current deal is up at the end of the season, and the club and player haven’t been able to reach an agreement on a contract extension. He can sign a pre-contract with a team in January, and the Spurs would lose him for nothing. That situation combined with the poor results have raised concerns as to whether big changes were needed. They just took the first step. 

But when it comes down to it, the results are the most important factor. Tottenham has failed to beat Sheffield United, Everton and Watford in the last month, while also suffering astonishing defeats to Brighton (3-0) and lowly Colchester in the EFL Cup. Still, it’s early in the season.

3. What’s the next step?

Finding the right coach. We examined four candidates here, but it’s hard to envision what kind of manager they will go after because they had Pochettino for quite a while and have become a rather major club since he arrived. Somebody with big club experience makes sense, but they should also look for someone who can be a motivator and get this thing turned around. There are plenty of quality coaches on the market, but there’s also the chance Spurs finish out the season with an interim boss and begin an extensive coaching search. 

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