‘The players got him the sack’ … football reacts to Pochettino’s Spurs dismissal

Guardian sport on 19 November 2019

Tottenham’s decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday night was met with shock and surprise, despite his side’s dreadful run of results that equated to 25 points from 24 games in the Premier League, with the former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp blaming the players and Gary Lineker warning the club: “Good look with finding a better replacement.”

Redknapp, who held the Spurs job from 2008 to 2012, told Sky Sports: “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.

“The results have not been good enough. They’ve not performed well enough. That’s what gets you sacked as a football manager. 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.” Asked if he would consider returning to the club, Redknapp, out of management since being sacked by Birmingham in 2017, told talkSPORT: “I’d walk there tomorrow but it isn’t going to happen. I’m a realist. If he rung me and said come until the end of the season, of course I would.”

Broadcaster and former Spurs striker Lineker said: “He helped the club to punch massively above their weight for years. Good luck with finding a better replacement … ain’t gonna happen.”

Shortly after the news broke, while his party leader Jeremy Corbyn was debating with Boris Johnson live on ITV, David Lammy, Labour’s MP for Tottenham, tweeted “I am in shock”, adding that Pochettino was “on the brink of something special” at the club and “one of the best managers in the Premier League”.

Dele Alli tweeted: “I can’t thank this man enough. 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.”

Lammy said: “The season so far has been tough but surely not buying players in successive transfer windows has contributed. I dread going back to the yoyo of different managers.”

The former Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas whose time at the club ended the year before Pochettino took over, tweeted simply: “Shoulda backed him not sacked him! Gutted for Mauricio.” Lee Dixon, who spent 14 years at north London rivals Arsenal, speculated that the move could see him join Ian Wright on the reality TV circuit: “Suprise [sic] week 1 guest in the jungle? #Pochgetmeoutofhere.” Chris Sutton called the Argentinian’s ousting a “ridiculous decision”.

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said in a statement: “We’re shocked and saddened to hear our club has sacked Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff. We question why this decision was taken at the end, rather than the beginning, of the international break. We question whether the timing of the decision leaves the club with much choice in who takes over.

“To take the decision it has, the Board must have a clear plan for what and who comes next. It needs to tell this Club’s supporters what that plan is. And the Board also needs to consider its own role in this. Is the manager solely accountable?”

Bookmakers instantly installed José Mourinho, who has worked as a pundit since his removal as manager at Manchester United last December, as favourite to fill the vacancy.

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