From ‘born winner’ to ‘disaster waiting to happen’: Football world reacts as Mourinho replaces Pochettino as Tottenham boss
Jose Mourinho is back and the news that he will replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham has sent the football world into a frenzy. And as with all things Jose, opinions are wildly divided.
Spurs announced on Tuesday night that Pochettino had been sacked after five and half years at the club, and just months after the Argentine guided Spurs to their first ever Champions League final.
The 47-year-old had presided over what was seen as a gilded era for Spurs as they established themselves among the European elite. But, the Pochettino project ultimately failed to yield silverware of any kind, and increasingly soured as the team started this season in abysmal form, finding themselves 14th in the table and suffering the ignominy of a 7-2 home hammering by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Argentine’s exit has opened the door for the return of Mourinho, who was confirmed by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy as new boss on Wednesday morning on a reported £15 million a year.
Walking into his first management job since he was axed by Manchester United 11 months ago, Mourinho said was “excited to be a joining a club with such great heritage and such passionate supporters.”
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with the players is what attracted me,” the 56-year-old former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss added.
But while the Tottenham players will welcome Mourinho to training on Wednesday, many first took time to pay tribute to the departing Pochettino – a man famed for his ability to forge strong personal bonds with players.
Forward Harry Kane penned a heartfelt message on social media saying he would be “forever thankful” to Pochettino for “helping me achieve my dreams.”
Gaffer. I’ll be forever thankful to you for helping me achieve my dreams. We’ve had some amazing moments in the last 5 and a half years that I will never forget. You were my manager but my friend as well and I thank you for that relationship. Good luck with your next chapter! 💙 pic.twitter.com/u64RXV7wd4
— Harry Kane (@HKane) November 20, 2019
England midfielder Dele Alli also praised a man who had “taught me so much.”
For Spurs fans and many pundits, despite the travils in recent months Pochettino was building something special at the club – and all on a shoe-string budget compared to their cash-rich rivals.
Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by @SpursOfficial. He helped the club to punch massively above their weight for years. Good luck with finding a better replacement….ain’t gonna happen.
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— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 19, 2019
Daniel Levy, financial genius. Sacks a world class manager, pays him £12.5m to leave, and undermines a culture it has taken years to establish. Mauricio Pochettino will come back to haunt him.
— Michael Calvin (@CalvinBook) November 19, 2019
Mauricio Pochettino had a net spend of £109m over five-and-a-half years at Tottenham. Jose Mourinho almost matched that over a 12-week period in 2018. Extraordinary gamble from Daniel Levy.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) November 20, 2019
Setting the club rivalry and Mourinho’s history aside, this looks like a team in decline about to be managed by someone who has seen the game pass him by some time ago.
Not a good match and has disaster written all over it.
— Gus Mears (@gusmears1905) November 20, 2019
Many looked warily at Mourinho’s toxic final months at Old Trafford, accusing him of razing clubs to the ground in his relentless pursuit of titles.
Amazing how some have bought into “Mourinho the winner” without any regard for how he leaves clubs.
Unbalanced, fractured, overspending,soulless.
Everything Spurs tried to avoid.
Good luck, I like Spurs a lot, but it’s not how this man comes in, it’s how he’ll leave you. 🙌🏽
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) November 20, 2019
But Mourinho is nothing if not a winner, having picked up league titles in every country he has managed in, as well as two Champions League titles.
Even his much-maligned tenure at Man Utd yielded a Europa League title and second-place Premier League finish.
For some, the arrival of the Special One meant guaranteed success for Spurs and an end to their wait for a first trophy of any kind since they won the League Cup in 2008.
First up for Mourinho will be a Premier League fixture away at London rivals West Ham on Saturday, before a home Champions League game against Olympiacos on Tuesday night.
But most eagerly awaited will be a trip to Mourinho’s former club Man Utd on Wednesday December 4 and when Spurs host Chelsea on December 22.
Brace yourselves, the Special One is back.