Tottenham have sacked Jose Mourinho less than a week before he was due to lead them out in the Carabao Cup final.
The 58-year-old has paid the price for a disappointing second half of the season where Spurs sank from the top of the Premier League to outside the European places with little hope of Champions League qualification.
That became something of a moot point given Tottenham’s involvement in the controversial European Super League should the breakaway tournament materialise, but it is understood that played no part in Mourinho’s exit.
He may well leave the north London club feeling sorry for himself as he was denied the chance of delivering the club’s first piece of silverware in 13 years, with Spurs set to take on Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.
Mourinho leaves with his coaching staff Joao Sacramento, Nuno Santos, Carlos Lalin and Giovanni Cerra, but Ledley King, who was a defensive coach, remains at the club.
Academy coach Ryan Mason took training on Monday, though it is not yet clear whether he will be in charge of Wednesday’s Premier League game with Southampton or Sunday’s match with City.
Harry Kane, whose form this season had been a bright spot with 47 goal contributions in 43 games, said it was a “pleasure” to work with Mourinho.
Kane tweeted: “Thank you for everything Boss. A pleasure to have worked together. I wish you all the best for your next chapter.”
His stunned strike partner Son Heung-min posted a similar message on Instagram later on Monday afternoon.
The South Korean wrote: “I have no words to describe how I’m feeling, it’s been a pleasure to work with you, I’m sorry things didn’t work out and truly grateful for the time we’ve had together. Good luck and all the best for the future.”
The decision to move on from Mourinho will have been a tough one for chairman Daniel Levy, who had long been an admirer of the Portuguese ever since his Chelsea days and was desperate to finally get him to the club in November 2019.
Levy spoke of his regret at firing Mourinho, but timing of it – decided after Friday’s 2-2 draw at Everton – was ruthless.
Levy said on the club’s official website: “Jose and his coaching staff have been with us through some of our most challenging times as a club.
“Jose is a true professional who showed enormous resilience during the pandemic.
“On a personal level I have enjoyed working with him and regret that things have not worked out as we both had envisaged.
“He will always be welcome here and we should like to thank him and his coaching staff for their contribution.”
After a mixed bag in the 2019-20 coronavirus-hit campaign things started off well this season as Mourinho led Spurs to the top of the Premier League, but they have slumped since December and fell out of title contention.
They also suffered an embarrassing Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb in the last-16 which further weakened Mourinho’s position.
The last few weeks contained all the hallmarks of a familiar Mourinho end game as there were stories of player feuds, spats with the media and a deflection from poor performances.
Mason, just 29, is expected to take charge of the first team until Spurs appoint a new permanent successor.
The former Spurs midfielder, who was forced to retire from playing due to a head injury, had been working as an academy coach since 2019, but steps up with former Derby boss Chris Powell.
RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is the early favourite to replace Mourinho, though the German coach has also been linked with Bayern Munich.