Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday named Mauricio Pochettino's successor at Tottenham.

It's a remarkable return to English football for one of the game's most successful, and controversial, managers.

A quick look at the fixture list shows the Portuguese will have to hit the ground running if he is to turn Spurs' season around - the north London side are 14th heading into the weekend clash at West Ham, 11 points adrift of a Champions League spot.

After the cross-capital clash on Saturday, Mourinho will have to plot a route through a congested fixture list that also sees clashes with some old friends and foes.

A DERBY DATE FOR STARTERS - WEST HAM (A), SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23

Fittingly, Mourinho opens his Tottenham tenure against a West Ham team managed by someone he has clashed with previously.

Mourinho fired a succession of barbs at Manuel Pellegrini after succeeding him as Real Madrid boss in 2010, repeatedly and deliberately calling him "Pellegrino" before claiming "if they [Real] get rid of me, I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A," when Pellegrini went to Malaga.

Further verbals were traded when the pair were at Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, and there is no doubt Mourinho would relish the opportunity to push his rival closer towards the sack.

West Ham have not won in six Premier League games and suffered a humiliating 4-0 thumping at League One side Oxford United in the EFL Cup in September.

 

AN EARLY GREEK TRAGEDY? - OLYMPIACOS (H), TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Spurs may have struggled domestically this season, but it has been a different story in the Champions League and victory over the Greek side will guarantee them a place in the knock-out stages.

Pochettino guided the club to their first Champions League final last season, where they lost to Liverpool, an amazing feat Mourinho will do well to replicate.

He could not ask for better opponents for his first home game, however. Olympiacos prop up Group B having taken just one point from their four games - against Spurs in Piraeus - while conceding 10 goals in the process.

OLD TRAFFORD RETURN - MANCHESTER UNITED (A), WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4

It will be fascinating to see what kind of reception Mourinho receives when he takes Tottenham to Manchester United.

While the Portuguese regularly flagged his achievements before arriving at Old Trafford, his two-and-a-half-year spell in Manchester was mixed.

He claimed EFL Cup and Europa League titles, but it was a reign characterised by acrimony with key players in his squad.

His successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also struggled and Mourinho will see this as a wonderful opportunity to make a statement.

 

A PRE-CHRISTMAS CRACKER - CHELSEA (H), SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22

Mourinho faces another of his former clubs when Chelsea visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium three days before Christmas.

The 56-year-old enjoyed enormous success across two spells at Stamford Bridge but was roundly jeered on his last visit with Manchester United.

In response, Mourinho held up three figures to signify the number of Premier League titles he won with the club, in addition to an FA Cup success.

If the love affair was on the rocks then, Mourinho's move to Chelsea's London rivals means it is now officially over.

HOLA PEP! - MANCHESTER CITY (H), SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Two of the game's most successful managers - and perennial rivals - over the past 10 years, Guardiola and Mourinho continue to slug it out at the highest level.

From undignified rows when at Real Madrid and Barcelona to a more peaceful co-habitation of Manchester, the latest chapter promises to be equally engaging.

By early February, City will likely be in the title race while Spurs' push for a top-four finish could be in full swing.

Either way, this promises to be another intriguing encounter.

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.


HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent's most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe's highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.


Madrid make history

Mourinho's decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team's final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.


The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him "crazy" for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a "much-loved, respected and significant figure" after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt "betrayed" by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho's failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Jose Mourinho has proven a successful, and controversial figure, during his long managerial career.

Trophies have been plentiful, as have confrontations with rival managers.

There have been clashes in Italy, Spain and England as the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United has made waves throughout Europe.

Here, we look back at five of Mourinho's most heated moments.


"Demenza senile"

Premier League managers having a go at each other is nothing new, but it felt like Antonio Conte and Mourinho crossed a line in the 2017-18 season. Mourinho appeared to implicate Conte when he suggested counterparts act like "clowns" on the touchline, with the Italian often running into the crowd to celebrate Chelsea goals.

From there, the row quickly escalated. Conte hit back, suggesting Mourinho was suffering from "demenza senile", which translates as senile dementia. Mourinho famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford when Porto scored a key Champions League winner, but Conte had gone too far and Chelsea quickly clarified that he meant "amnesia".

Having successfully provoked Conte, Mourinho blamed the media for the whole affair and referenced match-fixing allegations made against Siena during Conte's time in charge. The former Italy boss served a ban but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. 

Conte then called Mourinho a "little man" and suggested he would seek to meet his rival "in a room" to sort out their difficulties.

Poking Tito Vilanova in the eye

It was assumed that Pep Guardiola and Mourinho would renew their old rivalry when the pair were appointed by Manchester City and United respectively in 2016, but the row never boiled over.

The closest they have come to fireworks was a clash in the Old Trafford tunnel following City's 2-1 win in the Manchester derby in December 2017. Mourinho allegedly went to the away dressing room to complain over the volume of City's celebrations, only for a melee to ensue. Guardiola was not present at the time and Mourinho later blamed a "diversity in education" between the two Manchester squads for the fracas.

Mourinho and Guardiola go way back, with the Portuguese believing he should have been appointed by Barcelona before they moved for their former player. Later, while in charge of Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side thrashed 5-0 at Camp Nou, while he was sent off for gouging the eye of Guardiola's assistant, Tito Vilanova, during the 2011 Supercopa de Espana. Mourinho also suggested Guardiola's Barcelona won the 2010-11 Champions League by virtue of generous refereeing.

Wenger a 'specialist in failure'

That Mourinho seemingly lost interest in rowing with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was probably a sign of how far the Gunners eventually fell under the veteran Frenchman. Mourinho no longer saw Wenger as a rival. It was not always the case, though, as Wenger was the subject of one of the 56-year-old's most famous rants, when he called the Arsenal manager a "specialist in failure".

Mourinho's Chelsea were a point clear of the Gunners atop the Premier League table in February 2014 when the Portuguese hit out at a long trophy-less wait for the Gunners. "If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don't come back," Mourinho said.

Back in 2005, Wenger was called a "voyeur" by Mourinho. "He likes to watch other people," he said. "There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea."

"I don't want to win the Europa League"

Mourinho has often had a problem with managers who succeeded him at clubs, with Rafael Benitez drawing his ire on multiple occasions. 

After Mourinho left Inter, Benitez took over and claimed the Club World Cup with the Serie A side. "I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him," said the ex-Porto boss.

Benitez took charge of Chelsea briefly between Mourinho's two spells at Stamford Bridge, leading the Blues to Europa League glory. "I don't want to win the Europa League," Mourinho said. "It would be a big disappointment for me."

Mourinho had obviously changed his tune by 2017, when winning the Europa League earned Manchester United a route into the Champions League.

Parking the bus

At United, Mourinho's team were often accused of 'parking the bus', which is ironic as he is credited with introducing the phrase to English football.

After a 0-0 draw against Tottenham in 2004 during his first Chelsea spell, Mourinho said: "As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal."

And after Inter knocked out Barca on the way to the Champions League title in 2010, Mourinho extended the metaphor further.

"We won the tie in Barcelona, but everyone talks about Barcelona winning and says we parked the bus in front of the goal," said Mourinho. "We didn't park the bus, we parked the plane."

Paul Gascoigne believes Tottenham's appointment of Jose Mourinho will energise the squad and prove an excellent decision.

Spurs named Mourinho their new manager less than 12 hours after dismissing Mauricio Pochettino, the man who led them to the Champions League final last season.

Results have soured this term and Pochettino left the role on Tuesday without having added to the club's trophy cabinet.

Tottenham great Gascoigne thinks Mourinho is the man to buck the trend of near-misses and, despite his adversarial managerial style, expects a reportedly fractured set of players to unite behind the new boss.

"The way Manchester City have put pressure on everybody, people are looking for the best," Gascoigne, who won the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991, told Sky Sports.

"As far as I'm concerned, Jose Mourinho is an unbelievable manager.

"If I was a Tottenham player now and knowing Jose Mourinho was going to be manager I would be more than happy.

"Have you had a look at what Jose Mourinho has won? Jesus. Alex Ferguson was an unbelievable manager, the best ever in the world, and Jose Mourinho isn't far from him."

Asked whether it might take time for Mourinho to win over the dressing room, Gascoigne replied: "I wouldn't have thought so. Definitely not, no way.

"There will be sadness because obviously a lot of players were close to Pochettino and I feel sorry for him. I suppose he will go on holiday and have a think about what he wants to do next. I'm sure a great club will come in for him.

"The players will warm to [Mourinho] and if they don't they'll be on the bench. He's definitely a manager I would play for, that's for sure. A manager is only as good as the players he's got and if he's not happy with the players he's got he will bring in players."

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust said it was "shocked and saddened" by the decision to dismiss Pochettino, who spent over five years in charge, but Gascoigne reckons fans can look forward with optimism.

"All they have to look at is Jose Mourinho's trophy cabinet," he said.

"The players have got to understand they haven't won anything. Jose Mourinho has – what he has achieved as a manager is second to none.

"Tottenham's future looks bright and if I was a Tottenham supporter now I'd be more than excited."

Tottenham captain Harry Kane thanked Mauricio Pochettino for helping him realise his dreams following the Argentinian's sacking.

Spurs sprung a surprise on Tuesday when they announced Pochettino's five-and-a-half-year spell as manager had been ended.

Pochettino had enjoyed a fine spell at the club, transforming them into top-four regulars and taking Spurs to their first Champions League final last season, ultimately losing 2-0 to Liverpool.

But after a difficult start to the new campaign, claiming just 14 points from their first 12 matches, chairman Daniel Levy made a drastic decision, with Spurs confirming Jose Mourinho as their new manager on Wednesday.

There remains plenty of respect for Pochettino in the Spurs dressing room, however, with skipper Kane the latest to pay tribute to ex-Southampton boss. 

"Gaffer. I'll be forever thankful to you for helping me achieve my dreams," Kane wrote on his official Twitter account.

"We've had some amazing moments in the last five 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!"

Manchester City are going to great lengths to keep Raheem Sterling.

Though contracted until 2023, the England international's exceptional form has led to links with Real Madrid.

But it could earn him a fresh extension to his bumper deal at the Etihad Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SEEK STERLING INSURANCE

Premier League champions City have opened contract talks with star forward Sterling, according to the Mirror.

The 24-year-old agreed a new three-year extension a mere 12 months ago but City are taking no chances with his future amid rumours of interest from LaLiga giants Madrid.

Sterling has scored 14 goals in 17 club appearances this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Corriere dello Sport says Juventus are preparing a €100million offer for Valencia winger Ferran Torres, who has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Tottenham teenager Troy Parrott and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports the Daily Mail. Parrott, 17, has caught the eye, while Henderson is on loan at Sheffield United.

- Napoli have offered Fabian Ruiz a contract extension through to 2025, claims Mundo Deportivo. Barcelona and Madrid are rumoured to want the Spain international midfielder.

- According to reports in Spain, Athletic Bilbao want to re-sign Javi Martinez from Bayern Munich. Martinez left the Basque club for Bayern in 2012.

Jose Mourinho is taking a risk by accepting the Tottenham job, and why not?

Spurs confirmed the appointment of Mourinho as head coach on Wednesday, a day after announcing the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino following five-and-a-half years in charge.

A serial winner, the Portuguese tactician has the job of lifting Tottenham from 14th in the Premier League, although they are just three points off fifth spot.

Still, while a return to London for the former Chelsea manager is an opportunity, it also shapes as a risk after his mixed spell at Manchester United. Already facing questions, perhaps unfairly, over his ability, Mourinho joins at a troublesome time for Spurs, arguably the smallest club he has managed since leaving Porto.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has got his man, but Mourinho will want funds – and soon – to strengthen the squad. Levy is a tough negotiator but will need to loosen his demands to get Tottenham, and Mourinho, what they want and need.

Mourinho – appointed until the end of the 2022-23 season – must also deal with a trio of stars in Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld being out of contract at season's end.

All three – as well as star forward Harry Kane – have been linked with moves away from Tottenham and Mourinho will face a huge test in trying to replace them should they decide to leave a club without a trophy since the 2008 EFL Cup.

Though Mourinho suggested just last month when working as a pundit for Sky Sports that he would have shown the likes of Eriksen the door already.

"I don't like to keep players that don't want to stay at the club," he said. "I think it's always really difficult. I am not thinking about the economical perspective, I mean from a motivational point of view.

"We [Chelsea] sold Robben to Real Madrid, Chelsea didn't want to or need the money. But he didn't want to be there and wanted to go. There are some moments where motivation affects performance and it is difficult to keep players happy when they have other dreams."

Mourinho's volatile nature may not make his marriage with Spurs a perfect match, but with great risk can come great reward.

For all the questions over whether his pragmatic approach can still work as the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool dominate, Mourinho gets a chance to prove it does – or at least show he is adaptable and begin to match the all-conquering duo.

Mourinho has enough credits – 25 trophies to be exact – to know there will be other opportunities should his Spurs move go wrong, but just where – and who would be willing to take a risk on him – is another matter entirely.

If his time at Spurs ends as badly as it did at Old Trafford, however, Mourinho is unlikely to be back at any of the Premier League's so-called 'big six' soon, meaning he would almost certainly have to turn his attentions to another country.

This may be a risk for Mourinho, but it is one he needs to take.

Tottenham have appointed former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement.

Mourinho, 'The Special One', arrives at Tottenham, who sacked Pochettino just five months after the club's remarkable run to the Champions League final.

Tottenham opted to make a change at the end of the international break, with Spurs languishing in 14th position in the Premier League after 12 rounds.

"I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters," Mourinho said in a statement, having been appointed head coach until the end of 2022-23.

"The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me."

Mourinho was sacked by Premier League rivals United in December but the former Chelsea boss is back in management and London, where the Portuguese will be tasked with salvaging Tottenham's season.

The 56-year-old – a three-time Premier League winner during two spells in charge of London rivals Chelsea – saw his two-and-half-year tenure as United boss come to an end amid poor form and reports of dressing-room unrest.

Mourinho, who also won the treble with Inter in 2010 and led Real Madrid to LaLiga glory in 2011-12, most notably clashed with United star Paul Pogba prior to his Old Trafford exit.

The ex-Porto boss had been linked to Inter before Antonio Conte's appointment, while Mourinho was reportedly in the frame to move to Bayern Munich following Niko Kovac's sacking.

A Madrid comeback had also been touted amid Zinedine Zidane's initial struggles, but Mourinho will now prepare for Saturday's trip to West Ham.

Tottenham have appointed former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement.

Mourinho, 'The Special One', arrives at Tottenham, who sacked Pochettino just five months after the club's remarkable run to the Champions League final.

Tottenham opted to make a change at the end of the international break, with Spurs languishing in 14th position in the Premier League after 12 rounds.

"I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters," Mourinho said in a statement, having been appointed head coach until the end of 2022-23.

"The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me."

Mourinho was sacked by Premier League rivals United in December but the former Chelsea boss is back in management and London, where the Portuguese will be tasked with salvaging Tottenham's season.

The 56-year-old – a three-time Premier League winner during two spells in charge of London rivals Chelsea – saw his two-and-half-year tenure as United boss come to an end amid poor form and reports of dressing-room unrest.

Mourinho, who also won the treble with Inter in 2010 and led Real Madrid to LaLiga glory in 2011-12, most notably clashed with United star Paul Pogba prior to his Old Trafford exit.

The ex-Porto boss had been linked to Inter before Antonio Conte's appointment, while Mourinho was reportedly in the frame to move to Bayern Munich following Niko Kovac's sacking.

A Madrid comeback had also been touted amid Zinedine Zidane's initial struggles, but Mourinho will now prepare for Saturday's trip to West Ham.

Tottenham defender Ben Davies described the Premier League club's decision to sack manager Mauricio Pochettino as a "big shock".

Pochettino was sacked by Spurs on Tuesday after five and a half years at the helm, departing following a poor start to the 2019-20 season.

Champions League runners-up in June, Tottenham have won just three of their opening 12 Premier League games and are 14th in the table.

Davies, who has made just five league appearances for Spurs this season, said he was surprised.

"I didn't really know about it until after the game," he said after Wales' win over Hungary secured their spot at Euro 2020 on Tuesday.

"But it was a big shock. He's been amazing to work with for the last five years and it's a shame to see him go."

Davies played 90 minutes during Wales' victory against Hungary as they progressed from Group E.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are reportedly set to appoint Jose Mourinho as manager ahead of visiting West Ham on Saturday.

Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino, bringing an end to his five-year tenure in charge after a run of dismal results in the Premier League this season.

Three wins from 12 league matches have left Tottenham in 14th place, albeit only three points off fifth, while they also lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month.

Four successive top-four finishes and a Champions League final appearance will be Pochettino's lasting legacy and he also oversaw Tottenham's transition to a new, state-of-the-art stadium.

With the debate sure to continue over whether Spurs have made a harsh call, and plenty of speculation to come over who will replace him, two of our writers argue the case for and against Pochettino's sacking.

Tottenham have got it wrong - Tom Webber

Spurs defied expectations under the Argentinian and he underlined his status as an elite manager by leading them to the Champions League final last term.

While that game ended in defeat to Liverpool and left Pochettino without a trophy, their European run was combined with a fourth straight top-four finish, showing they had a leader capable of taking them to new heights.

However, their transfer business in the close season was a source of frustration for Pochettino, and he made no attempt to hide that.

While Tanguy Ndombele was a club-record signing from Lyon and Giovani Lo Celso provided another creative option in midfield, there were no other additions capable of immediately pushing the team forward.

Spurs let Kieran Trippier go and did not sign a replacement, leaving them exposed at right-back, while Danny Rose was seemingly retained against Pochettino's wishes.

By failing to give the 47-year-old the backing his work deserved, Spurs have now shot themselves in the foot twice and will only have themselves to blame if things go backwards from here.

Tottenham have got it right - Patric Ridge

Given what Pochettino has achieved during his time at Tottenham, the decision to cut ties seems a ruthless one when viewed in isolation, but that would not be taking into account what has been a dismal 2019 for Spurs on the domestic front.

In this calendar year, Tottenham have taken just 40 points from a possible 90 on offer in the Premier League, winning 11 matches, drawing a further seven and suffering 12 defeats.

Their poor form was, of course, masked by an incredible run to the Champions League final, but it is easy to forget Spurs were heading out in Amsterdam until Lucas Moura took matters into his own hands in a match that could easily have gone the other way.

Looking only at their league results this term, three wins from 14 league matches would be enough to get many managers in the top flight sacked. Why not Pochettino? 

While it is fair to say Tottenham did perhaps not back him as they should have done in the transfer market, the club did spend big. It is hard to imagine he did not have the final say on who was brought in.

Was a creative force such as Lo Celso, for example, strictly necessary when it was so obvious Tottenham lacked a quality right-back or alternatives up front – weaknesses that were exposed in humiliating fashion by Bayern last month?

The situation with Christian Eriksen has not helped, but again Pochettino must take his fair share of responsibility; looking back, any players dallying over signing fresh deals – see also Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – have been ostracised during his time in north London. Is this the wisest approach when Tottenham have not had the squad depth to be able to cope with key players sitting idly by?

With the Premier League seemingly wide open – at least outside the top four – this season, Tottenham could not afford to delay any longer and, on the back of a five-match winless league run, they desperately need a fresh source of inspiration.

Former Tottenham striker Peter Crouch was "flabbergasted" by Spurs sacking Mauricio Pochettino, claiming other clubs would have rewarded him with a statue.

Pochettino and his coaching staff dismissed on Tuesday with Tottenham winless in their past five Premier League matches and sitting 14th.

But the former Southampton boss led Spurs to their first Champions League final in June, overseeing incredible victories against Manchester City and Ajax before missing out on the trophy to Liverpool.

Crouch, who came through Tottenham's academy and played for the club between 2009 and 2011, could not believe how quickly Pochettino's achievements had been forgotten.

"I'm flabbergasted by Tottenham's decision," ex-England star Crouch wrote in the Daily Mail.

"I know results have been poor and I understand why the top teams act when their potential to qualify for the following season's Champions League is in jeopardy, but it is ridiculous to think Pochettino has suddenly lost his spark.

"He led Tottenham into the Champions League final on June 1. Some clubs, who aren't accustomed to that stage, would build a statue for a manager who took them to the biggest game in club football.

"But all Pochettino has got is his marching orders. I fear it is a decision Tottenham will regret."

He added: "[Pochettino] was the best thing that had happened to them for 20 years. Good luck to them if they think they can find someone better."

Jose Mourinho is reportedly in line to replace Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Toby Alderweireld is sure Tottenham will appoint a "big" manager after the Premier League club elected to relieve Mauricio Pochettino of his post.

Just six months after reaching the Champions League final, Spurs sit 14th in the Premier League following a dismal start to the campaign, winning just three games.

Tottenham are just a win away from the top six, but are 11 points adrift of the Champions League places with 12 matches played.

Jose Mourinho has emerged as a front-runner to take over and Spurs defender Alderweireld – whose relationship with Pochettino was reportedly strained – is confident Tottenham will have a new manager in place quickly, and one with the credentials to take charge of a club aiming to compete on both the domestic and European fronts.

"Spurs are a big club, there will be a big manager for us. Hopefully we know quickly," Alderweireld told Sky Sports on Tuesday, after playing in Belgium's 6-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Cyprus.

"It is a difficult situation, I don't know really the right thing to say. It needs a couple of days to sink in.

"I'm 30, and it'll be the first time in my career there's been a change of manager [at my team] so it'll be strange for me. I can't say how it feels. We have to work hard and I think there will be a new manager quickly.

"We have to stay together, change things as quickly as possible together. The strength of our team is the work rate – that won't be changing."

While Alderweireld has been linked with a move away from Spurs in recent seasons, he is proud of what the team achieved under Pochettino.

"I am surprised," Alderweireld said.

"We came a long way together, with a lot of players, achieved big things, you can see from where we've come from before my time at Spurs, we achieved a lot of things together and I think he took the club to the next level."

Dele Alli was one of the first players to thank Mauricio Pochettino following Tottenham's decision to sack the Argentine coach, posting an emotional tribute on social media.

Spurs announced Pochettino's departure with the club sitting 14th in the Premier League and winless in five league matches, but the decision nevertheless sent shockwaves around European football.

Under Pochettino, Alli was handed his league debut for Tottenham in 2015-16, and the England midfielder went on to finish second in the Premier League under his guidance the following season.

Alli has made just four league starts for Spurs this season, scoring two goals, but he went on Twitter to reflect on the lessons learned under Pochettino's leadership following the news of his dismissal.

"I can't thank this man enough," Alli wrote.

"He's taught me so much and I'm so grateful for everything he's done for me."

Pochettino started Alli 28 times during the 2015-16 Premier League season and the playmaker has been a regular in his team ever since, when fit.

The club spoke of a "need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters" in the statement announcing Pochettino's departure, and Alli wished his former boss well.

"Good luck and hope to see you again my friend," Alli wrote.

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