Mauricio Pochettino ‘sulked his way to the sack’ at Tottenham this season, according to a report.
It was announced on Tuesday evening that he Argentinian has been relieved of his duties at Spurs after five-and-a-half years in charge and on Wednesday morning the club revealed Jose Mourinho would be the new boss.
Tottenham, who were in the Champions League final only six months ago, have endured a tough start to the season and are currently 14th in the Premier League table.
Pochettino was at the helm for 293 games and delivered four successive top-four Premier League finishes, challenging for the title in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Pochettino, who had to contend with playing home games at Wembley for 18 months, viewed the run to the Champions League final last season as the end of a chapter and warned of a “painful rebuild” this summer.
However, Spurs, whose transfers are controlled by chairman Daniel Levy, were unable to move out a host of players who either wanted to leave or Pochettino wanted rid of and results suffered.
And The Athletic claims that Spurs players became ‘used to saying’ the words “don’t look at the boss” around the training ground in the weeks leading up to Pochettino’s sacking.
After Pochettino’s departure, a source inside the Spurs dressing room told The Athletic: “It was the only decision that made sense.”
Pochettino ‘resolutely refused to resign’ after a ‘week of talks’ with Levy and the club were left with no choice but to sack him.
The report adds that Pochettino ‘wanted to quit’ if Spurs had beaten Liverpool in the Champions League final and his relationship with Levy and the players ‘had been deteriorating all year’.
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A source close to the club told The Athletic: “Some managers mentally can’t keep going week-in week-out, they hit a brick wall. It looked before the Champions League final that he wanted to get out. As if his heart wasn’t in it any more.”
The loss of support in the dressing room for the 47-year-old this season was the final straw for Levy after his ‘regret’ at not taking action to move Pochettino on in the summer.
The players had become ‘tired’ of Pochettino’s physical demands in training sessions and matches with a dressing room source telling The Athletic: “The old effect of the double sessions had gone, and it was mentally important to regenerate.
“So the moment of the sacking is a bit surprising, but the fuel tank got empty much earlier. At a certain moment, it is just over.”
Another source added: “Pochettino, who is never particularly warm with his players at the training ground, had become even more stand-offish in recent weeks. It had become a ‘don’t look at the boss’ situation.”
The Athletic continued by saying some players were ‘taken aback’ ahead of one match this season when they were given very little ‘tactical instruction,’ leading to defeat.
And Pochettino’s “different agendas” press conference in the aftermath of their League Cup loss to Colchester United on penalties left some squad members ‘aghast’.