Fabio Capello, Glenn Hoddle and Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino have emerged as contenders for the Tottenham manager’s position after Spurs sacked Andre Villas-Boas.
The 36-year-old’s spell as Tottenham manager came to an abrupt end a day after Spurs’ 5-0 home defeat by Liverpool. Tim Sherwood, who is already on the coaching staff at White Hart Lane, is set to be in charge for the Capital One Cup quarter-final at home to West Ham tomorrow and perhaps for longer in an interim role.
The humiliation by Liverpool, which followed a 6-0 drubbing by Manchester City last month, appears to have been the final straw for the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who delivered the coup de grace in person at the club’s training ground in Enfield.
Tottenham said in a statement: “The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services. The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties.”
Villas-Boas, who was able to say farewell to the players before his departure, leaves after 18 months in the post.
Bookmakers have installed Capello as the early favourite. Although he is currently Russia’s head coach and due to take them to the World Cup finals, Franco Baldini, his former assistant at England, is Spurs’ technical director, and Capello was at White Hart Lane on Sunday commentating for Italian television.
Other names linked with the post include former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the USA, and a possible return for Hoddle. He was in charge at Spurs between 2001 and 2003 but has not been in club management since Wolves in 2006.
Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “Would love to see Glenn Hoddle given another chance at this level. Has a brilliant football mind.”
There are also whispers that Southampton’s Pochettino, who has been hugely impressive at St Mary’s, has attracted Levy’s admiration, though he is known to be fiercely loyal to Saints chairman Nicola Cortese.
Guus Hiddink’s agent has ruled the Dutchman out of the running. He is taking over as Holland coach after the World Cup. Cees van Nieuwenhuizen said: “I would be surprised if (Hiddink) went to Spurs. I could hardly imagine that happening.
“He has just signed a contract with Holland and he has also turned down offers from other countries recently to coach them at the World Cup so I wouldn’t take any talk of Guus going to Tottenham seriously.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup’s agent has also insisted that the Dane is committed to staying at his club until the end of this season.
Spurs are seventh in the table, two points ahead of Manchester United, and won their Europa League group with a 100 per cent record, scoring 15 goals and conceding just two in six games.
Villas-Boas also had a good record overall as Tottenham manager, averaging 1.83 points per league match, and a win ratio of more than 53 per cent, the highest of all Spurs bosses in the Premier League era. Although the Portuguese manager spent £108 million over the summer, with seven new players coming in as Tottenham reinvested Gareth Bale’s enormous transfer fee, some of the signings were made over his head and that led to a breakdown in the relationship with the club’s hierarchy.
Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele admitted that the defeat by Liverpool had been humiliating. “It was one of the worst games I have been involved in,” the former Fulham midfielder said. “We are very disappointed in ourselves. Liverpool were much stronger than us and showed much more character than us.
“We are going to speak to each other, it is clear that we need to talk to each other. Last year, against the top teams, we were stronger. It is difficult to say why it is like this now but we have to look at ourselves.”
Earlier, Harry Redknapp, sacked as Spurs manager in 2012 after failing to qualify for the Champions League, had said Levy should give his successor Villas-Boas more time. “I think people are over-reacting too quickly,” he said. “You lose a couple of games now and you’re in trouble. It shouldn’t be like that. You either think somebody is good at their job or not and when you appoint someone you should give them time and let them do the job.”