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Jose Mourinho's time as Tottenham boss has come to an end after a difficult 17 months
Jose Mourinho's time as Tottenham boss has come to an end after a difficult 17 months

Tottenham will be gunning for Carabao Cup glory on Sunday — but it will not be Jose Mourinho leading them out at Wembley. 

The North Londoners have parted company with their Portuguese manager just days before they take on Manchester City as they look for a first trophy in 13 years. 

With Mourinho’s tumultuous reign at Spurs lasting just 17 months, where did it go wrong and why have Spurs decided to act now? 

Declining results

Tottenham sat proudly at the top of the Premier League table in early December, after accumulating an impressive 25 points in their first 12 matches of the campaign. 

Mourinho was brought to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to win trophies and at that stage it looked like he may deliver. 

But a steady decline in results, including three consecutive league defeats in late January and early February, put an end to any hopes of an unlikely title challenge. 

The situation has continued to deteriorate and Spurs now sit seventh, with a strong likelihood of missing out on Champions League football. 

Little joy in Europe

If that domestic record was not disappointing enough, the team’s performances in European competition have done little to lighten the mood.

After failing to qualify for the Champions League last season, Tottenham made hard work of a Europa League group filled with relative minnows.

Jose Mourinho has struggled to get a tune out of his players over the past four months
Jose Mourinho has struggled to get a tune out of his players over the past four months

They lost to Antwerp, drew with LASK and even needed late goals to see off Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Shkendija in qualifying. 

Then, as rivals Arsenal cruised through to the semi-final stage, Spurs suffered a humiliating exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16. 

Dour football

Having become accustomed to exciting, high-tempo football under Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho’s brand of pragmatism was always likely to jar with the Tottenham fanbase. 

While there was an acceptance of their manager’s methods when the team were grinding out victories, supporters’ patience was undoubtedly wearing thin with results declining. 

Spurs have looked utterly disjoined at times this season, entirely reliant on Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son to conjure chances while their team-mates appeared devoid of creativity. 

The tinkerman

Much has been made of Tottenham’s defensive deficiencies this season — although their record of 1.16 goals conceded per 90 minutes is actually the sixth-best record in the division. 

But only seven Premier League teams have allowed more shots against them from inside the box than Spurs’ 8.47 per 90. And Mourinho’s constant tinkering with his centre-back pairing has undoubtedly been a factor in their difficulties at the back.

Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Davinson Sanchez and Joe Rodon have been used in a variety of different combinations with little success. 

When quizzed on this last week, Mourinho defended his approach. 

He said: "Because one of the things that you — the media generally — and always for players in general, the perception is that everybody wants to play, everybody wants opportunities.

Jose Mourinho was publicly critical of players such as Dele Alli
Jose Mourinho was publicly critical of players such as Dele Alli

"When they don’t do it you always ask [about] the players not playing and why not. You can look at it in a different perspective.

"You can always play the same two or say that kind of rotation which gives opportunities equally to everyone." 

Squad management

Mourinho has struggled with the man-management side of the game in recent years and his spell with Spurs was no exception. 

The 58-year-old has publicly criticised a number of first-team squad members this season, most notably Gareth Bale and Dele Alli. 

When you factor in his sidelining of Harry Winks, there was a strong sense that Mourinho was not getting the best out of the players at his disposal. 

For that reason, alongside few signs of progress on the pitch, Tottenham’s patience with their high-profile manager ultimately ran out.

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