Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham after five years in charge of the club.
Pochettino led Spurs to top-four finishes in four of his five seasons in charge, as well as their first Champions League final in the 2018/19 campaign.
However, Tottenham have won just five matches this season and chairman Daniel Levy said a change had to be made in the “club’s best interests”.
Tottenham enjoyed a hugely successful European campaign last season, with dramatic wins over Manchester City and Ajax in the knockout stages earning them a place in the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.
After that defeat, Pochettino warned Spurs faced a “painful” rebuild, with several senior players reaching the last year of their contracts.
But he has been forced to rely on several players whose deals expire at the end of the season after the club endured another quiet summer in the transfer market.
Their domestic form has been poor for most of 2019, and since a 3-1 win over Leicester on February 10, Spurs have won just six of their 24 Premier League matches. They are currently 14th in the table and were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Colchester.
Pochettino’s staff – Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez – have also left the club.
Levy: Decision made in club’s best interests
In a statement released by Tottenham on Tuesday evening, Levy said: “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.”
Alderweireld expects ‘big-name’ replacement
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld praised the departing Pochettino for taking Spurs to the next level during his tenure before calling on the club to get appoint a successor as soon as possible.
“It’s big news, I heard it after the game. It’s part of football, but it’s never nice to see your manager leave,” the defender told Sky Sports, after Belgium 6-1 victory over Cyprus. “I had no idea it was going to happen, not at all, so it’s a surprise to me as well. It will take a couple of days to set in.
“The club made the decision, we have to accept this and try to change the situation as quickly as possible. We came a long way together, we achieved big things, so we have to be thankful for what he achieved at the club. He brought the club to the next level.
“This is the first time in my career there has been a managerial change, it’s strange but I cannot say how it’s going to feel. We just have to try hard, stay together and change as quickly as possible together.
“Spurs are a big club so I know there will be a big manager for us. Hopefully we know [who it is] quickly.”
Pochettino sacked: The reaction
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp: “When people talk about the players all loving him, if they love him that much, maybe they should have all started playing a bit better! They’ve got him the sack, at the end of the day. They haven’t performed well enough, that’s why he’s lost his job. If they all loved him so much, perhaps they should have done a bit better for him.”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher: “It’s a massive shock. The job he has done is miraculous, it deserved to see him at least see out the season. I’m shocked it is a sacking. When l heard the news, l thought it may have been ‘mutual agreement’. But the fact that he has been sacked… it’s strange and a bit out of order really considering the job he has done.”
Analysis: What went wrong?
“How long have you got? Pochettino felt that he took this group of players as far as he could take them. He managed to get incredible results out of them, baring in mind he was not able to spend any money for two transfer windows.
“He worked miracles to get Spurs as high up in the table as he did, but during the summer he wanted to refresh the squad. I think Pochettino wanted more, to show more ambition, and when that didn’t happen, the writing was on the wall.”
Jose Mourinho has been installed as the early favourite to replace Pochettino and Sky Sports News has been told that he is a serious contender to become the new Tottenham manager.
The three-time Premier League winner has been out of work since December 2018, when he was sacked by Manchester United.
He still lives in London and is understood to be keen to return to English football.