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How Tottenham’s nightmare 2019 cost Mauricio Pochettino his job

Mauricio Pochettino’s five-and-a-half year spell in charge of Tottenham has come to an end with the club announcing on Tuesday that they have decided to sack the manager. 

Spurs, who were in the Champions League final only six months ago, haves struggled domestically since the start of the year and currently lie 14th in the Premier League table. 

Chairman Daniel Levy, who appointed the Argentine in June 2014, said: ‘We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board have taken lightly, nor in haste.

Mauricio Pochettino has been relieved of his duties at Spurs with the club 14th in the league

‘Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and the beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

‘It falls on the board to make the difficult decisions – this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff – but we do so in the club’s best interests.’

Clearly domestic form was the key issue but there were a number of contributing factors. Here, Sportsmail looks at where it all went wrong for Pochettino.

The Argentine's sacking comes just five months after he reached Champions League final

The Argentine’s sacking comes just five months after he reached Champions League final

POCHETTINO’S EXIT: HOW SPORTSMAIL BROKE THE STORY

On Monday night, Sportsmail duo Sami Mokbel and Adrian Kajumba exclusively revealed that the end was near for Mauricio Pochettino – CLICK HERE to read the article in full.

Spurs visit West Ham on Saturday but there was already a backdrop of uncertainty over the Argentine’s future, with sources claiming private discussions over an exit strategy had taken place. These were confirmed on Tuesday evening when he was sacked.

Tottenham sit 14th in the Premier League – 20 points adrift of leaders Liverpool – although they remain on course to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. 

The headline for Sportsmail's exclusive story on Pochettino's future on Monday.

The headline for Sportsmail’s exclusive story on Pochettino’s future on Monday.

Falling out of the title race

Put the Champions League run to one side and Spurs have been in near relegation form since the turn of the year.

Cast your eye back to the midway point of last season and Pochettino’s men were second in table, six points adrift of Liverpool. But any ideas of a title challenge have disappeared since then with just six wins in their last 24 league outings.

A dire second half to the domestic campaign saw them scrape into fourth place, ultimately finishing 27 points behind winners Manchester City. 

Things have not improved this term, the north London outfit already 20 points adrift of leaders Liverpool after just three wins in 12 games. 

Those victories, which all came at home to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Southampton, seem a distant memory with the team’s form on a seemingly downward spiral. Their last league win came just under two months ago and they have failed to triumph in any of their last five, a 3-0 defeat at Brighton a particular low point.

Pochettino's team have looked a far cry from title challengers for entirety of 2019

Pochettino’s team have looked a far cry from title challengers for entirety of 2019 

Abysmal away form

The biggest problem for Pochettino has been that his side have found it almost impossible to win on the road. 

Somewhat incredibly, Tottenham haven’t picked up a victory away from home in the league since a 2-1 win at Fulham in January.

They have become a far more beatable side, nine of those 13 winless matches ending in defeat.

Domestic scalps in general have been hard to come by, but that sort of away form is inexcusable for a club with Tottenham’s ambitions.   

Spurs haven't managed to pick up a victory away from home in the league since January

Spurs haven’t managed to pick up a victory away from home in the league since January

Champions League heartbreak

It’s hard to imagine we’d be in this situation right now Tottenham had lifted club football’s biggest prize back in June.

The main reason why this news doesn’t sit well with so many is that Pochettino was responsible for taking the club to their first ever Champions League final with one of the most extraordinary runs in the tournament’s history.

It was the stuff of dreams for their fans but the nature of modern day football is that reaching a final is simply not enough.

Spurs came up short against Liverpool in Madrid and the fact is that that defeat left Pochettino’s trophy count with Spurs standing at zero. 

Pochettino reached the Champions League final but never won a trophy with Spurs

Pochettino reached the Champions League final but never won a trophy with Spurs

Summer of turmoil

A key strength of Pochettino’s was that his teams over the years have always been a symbol of unity.

But those foundations have begun to crumble after a messy summer which has seen a number of key players looking to depart.

Star trio Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are all considering following Danny Rose’s lead and rejecting any contract offers in order to leave the club on free transfers next summer. 

Eriksen was linked with a move away throughout the summer but failed to agree a deal with any club.

Defensive duo Vertonghen and Alderweireld, meanwhile, have reportedly had issues with Pochettino. 

Christian Eriksen is one of three key Tottenham players who can leave for free next summer

Christian Eriksen is one of three key Tottenham players who can leave for free next summer 

Not at the races this season  

Last season’s poor domestic finish was a side-note with what was happening in Europe but it has been far harder to ignore this time around. 

The club currently sit three points closer to the relegation zone than the top four and have a goal difference of just one. 

And it’s not been any better in other competitions, Colchester knocking them out out of the Carabao Cup on penalties and Bayern Munich putting seven past them on an embarrassing European night at the new stadium.

The year in isolation makes for tough reading, no Premier League having lost more games in all competitions than Pochettino’s side in 2019, the team suffering 18 defeats.

The last time Spurs lost more games in a calendar year was back in 2008, when they lost 19 times under spells by Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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