A little under six months ago, Mauricio Pochettino had done the impossible, he had led Tottenham to the Champions League Final. On Tuesday, Tottenham made a “reluctant decision” and fired Pochettino. The Club immediately replaced him with the controversial, Jose Mourinho.
When Pochettino first came to Tottenham, they were a middling club who could never dream of contending for any major trophies. With Pochettino’s vision, expectations for Tottenham would change quickly. Pochettino’s side had fans dreaming of Champions League success instead of merely being content with Europa League qualification.
Pochettino also showed that a smaller club could compete with the mega clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool both domestically and internationally. He lead Tottenham to three top three finishes in the Premier League, the club’s best finishes since the late 1980’s.
With all this success, there was one eventual downfall. Tottenham Club Chairman Daniel Levy who refused to supply Pochettino with the money necessary to be competitive.
In this era of incessant spending, Levy opted to be conservative at the expense of the club’s success. While rivals like Manchester United and Liverpool are making record signings for players like Paul Pogba and Alisson Becker; Tottenham became the first ever Premier League club to not add any new players in a summer transfer window.
It is a well known fact that within any sport, competition breeds success. Tottenham’s lack of acquisitions created a lack of competition, which eventually led to a lack of success.
Although Tottenham seemed set to advance in the Champions League; they have struggled through 12 Premier League games and currently sit in 14th place. Instead of adding talent in the January transfer window and giving Pochettino a chance to get through at least half of the 38 game Premier League season, the club has decided to make him the scapegoat.
The Pochettino years were undoubtedly Tottenham’s most successful of the Premier League era. Very few managers could match the level of success that Pochettino has had, and Mourinho is certainly not one of them.
Mourinho is among one of the most controversial figures in football today. He does not usually last long with clubs and has a habit of creating tension with players and board members alike.
For example, at Manchester United, Mourinho’s last job, there was a long standing feud with Club Chairman Ed Woodward over spending. Despite Manchester United being one the Premier League’s highest spending clubs, Mourinho was consistently complaining that they were not spending enough for him to win.
“[Spending £300m] is not enough,” Mourinho said after a game in 2017. “The price for the big clubs is different than for the other clubs. The big historical clubs are normally punished in the market because of that history.”
Even though Mourinho has constantly complained about his employers spending habits, Levy who hates to spend, felt Mourinho, who was consistently defeated by Pochettino at Manchester United, was a better fit for the club.
When Mourinho managed Manchester United, he averaged 1.89 points per game; the same amount Pochettino averaged at Tottenham. With that in mind, while Tottenham may improve from 14th place in the Premier League this season, it is highly unlikely they are better off in the long run without Pochettino.