The Special One wasn’t Spurs first choice

Was seven-goal humiliation in Champions League the final straw? Maybe we'll have to wait for the book

Jose Mourinho is the new man in charge at Spurs, but it seems that the Special One was not the Tottenham first choice. The Daily Mail is reporting that the north London side had hoped to lure Leicester City boss Brendan Rogers (left) to their new stadium, but the Thai-owned Midlands outfit were having none of it. Given the Foxes start to the season compared with that of Spurs you can understand it in footballing terms.

Obviously, something has not been right at Spurs for a while now, but the decision to replace Mauricio Pochettino with Mourinho still came as a surprise. Well, to me, anyway. Doubts about his future have lingered since the start of the season amid tensions between the Argentinian and chairman Daniel Levy, and also the manager and some of his players.

Sportsmail reported last month that Spurs’ players had feared Pochettino was looking for a way out and he cut an unusually distant figure at the training ground this season. Meanwhile, he had openly aired his frustrations over the club’s transfer dealings since the summer, with clear-the-air talks with Levy in August required to ease the tensions.

They made little difference. Following Tottenham’s 3-0 thumping at Brighton, which came off the back of their humiliating 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League at the start of October, the picture changed.

Sources have told Sportsmail that it was ‘clear that things were at an end’ by that point, that Levy’s relationship with Pochettino had broken down beyond repair and that it was only about how they parted ways, with the manager’s compensation the major stumbling block. Spurs and Pochettino limped on for another month but only won twice against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

So Mourinho takes over with the Champions League and the FA Cup still in Spurs’ sights. Sorry, but given they lie 14th in the table at the time of writing, I think that’s a fair summing up of the situation. They are already out of the League Cup following a humiliating defeat on penalties to Colchester who now face Jose’s old club Manchester United later in the month. In the Champions League they sit second behind Bayern and, major upsets apart, should progress to the knock-out stages.

My Facebook Spurs mates are still reeling from Pochettino’s departure. As I wrote to one of them … if regular qualification for the Champions League and getting to the final last season represents failure I wouldn’t mind a bit of that ‘failure’ at the club I support.

Where will Poch end up? At the start of the season he could have had his pick. But now? Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United? Somehow I doubt if he will be missing from the top table for long.

Read the MailOnline exclusive here:

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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