Tottenham Hotspur named Jose Mourinho as their new manager on a contract that runs until the end of the 2022-23 season, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.
The 56-year-old Portuguese returns to management for the first time since being sacked by Manchester United in December, and replaces Mauricio Pochettino, who was sacked on Tuesday.
Spurs’ decision to sack Pochettino six months after leading them to the Champions League final had sent shockwaves through the football world, with pundits saying the club should have given him more time to turn the season around.
Spurs sit 14th in the Premier League with only 14 points after 12 games, a situation that prompted club chairman Daniel Levy to make the “extremely reluctant” decision in an attempt to salvage their campaign.
Pochettino led Spurs to four consecutive Champions League finishes despite a relatively small transfer budget and former Spurs striker Gary Lineker said the club would be hard-pressed to find a suitable replacement.
“He helped the club to punch massively above their weight for years,” Lineker said on Twitter. “Good luck with finding a better replacement … ain’t gonna happen.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher criticised the timing of the sacking, saying Pochettino deserved more time.
“I think he should have been given until the end of the season to try and get Tottenham back where they should be and where Tottenham should be really is not actually in the top four,” he said.
“Tottenham should be a top-six club but he’s made them a top-four club and also a club who almost won the title, almost won the Champions League.”
Spurs midfielder Dele Alli thanked the Argentine on Twitter.
“I can’t thank this man enough,” the 23-year-old said. “He’s taught me so much and I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for me. Good luck and hope to see you again my friend.”
However, with only 25 points from their last 24 games stretching back to last season, former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said the sacking was inevitable.
“The results have not been good enough, they’ve not performed well enough. That’s what gets you sacked as a football manager,” Redknapp said, adding that he would return as an interim manager until the end of the season if he was asked.
“They’ve had one Champions League final and, if you look back at the run, really everything went their way a little bit. But they’ve not won a trophy in five or six years with an incredible squad of players, full of internationals.
“People talk about the players there all loving him. If they love him that much, maybe they should have started playing a bit better. At the end of the day, they’ve got him the sack.”