Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur after 17 months on the job, the Premier League club said yesterday.
The news arrived a day after Spurs were thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool at White Hart Lane, which left the north London club five points below the Champions League places at No. 7 in the league standings.
“The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services,” a statement on the Spurs Web site read. “The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties. We wish Andre well for the future. We shall make a further announcement in due course.”
Villas-Boas, 36, also saw his side demolished 6-0 at Manchester City last month, despite Spurs having invested about ￡105 million (US$171 million) on new players in the close season.
That expenditure was offset by the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, but Spurs have scored just 15 goals in their 16 league games this season since the Welshman’s exit.
Villas-Boas’ dismissal represents his second consecutive failure in charge of a London side after being fired by Chelsea in March last year after only nine months at the helm.
He joined Spurs in July of that year, but despite leading the club to their highest points tally of the Premier League era last season — 72 — they missed out on a Champions League place to rivals Arsenal.
Speaking after the drubbing by Liverpool, Villas-Boas had vowed that he would not walk away from the club.
“The call to make that decision is not mine because, obviously, I won’t resign and I’m not a quitter,” he said.
While Spurs have misfired in the league, they qualified for the last 32 in the Europa League after winning all six of their group games.
They are also due to play West Ham United in the quarter-finals of the English League Cup tomorrow.
The Sunday result that spelled the end of Villas-Boas’ tenure at White Hart Lane returned Liverpool to second in the league.
Captain for the day in the absence of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez put Liverpool ahead in the 18th minute when he took the ball past Michael Dawson and Kyle Walker before curling home a low shot.
Philippe Coutinho hit the bar, Glen Johnson shot just over and Hugo Lloris blocked from Suarez before Jordan Henderson doubled the visitors’ lead in the 40th minute.
Lloris stood up to save from Henderson and then blocked Suarez’s follow-up, but was beaten at the third attempt as the former Sunderland midfielder crashed a volley into the bottom-right corner.
Spurs’ hopes of a comeback were ended when Paulinho was sent off in the 63rd minute for catching Suarez in the chest with his foot.
Fullback Jon Flanagan made it 3-0, slamming a difficult half-volley off the bar and into the net from Suarez’s cross, before the Uruguayan added a fourth and teed up Raheem Sterling for the fifth.
Liverpool finished the weekend two points behind leaders Arsenal and above third-placed Chelsea on goal-difference.
Joining Liverpool on Sunday with their own big win were Manchester United, who sank Aston Villa 3-0.
Beaten by Everton and Newcastle United in their previous two league outings, United were at risk of losing three successive games for the first time since 2001, but were dominant at Villa Park.
A quick-fire brace from Danny Welbeck put the Devils in control after only 18 minutes and they added another through Tom Cleverley as they closed to within 10 points of leaders Arsenal.
Victory left the title-holders seven points below the Champions League positions in eighth place, but it was a timely win for manager David Moyes after a desperate run of four games without a victory.
Marc Albrighton worked United goalkeeper David de Gea twice in the early stages, but Welbeck put United in command.
Deputizing for the injured Robin van Persie, the England forward broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when he slammed home after Adnan Januzaj headed against the post from a Rafael da Silva cross.
Villa were unable to contain United’s right-sided players and three minutes later, the visitors scored another goal from that flank, with Antonio Valencia crossing for the sliding Welbeck to score.
Wayne Rooney — playing in his 500th club game — and Welbeck both came close to extending United’s lead before Cleverley added a third in the 52nd minute with a first-time finish from Rooney’s pass.
In the day’s other fixture, Swansea City drew 1-1 at Norwich City in a match that was overshadowed by visiting goalscorer Nathan Dyer being stretchered off with a suspected fractured ankle.
Gary Hooper earned Norwich a share of the spoils in first-half stoppage-time with a superb volley.
Additional reporting by staff writer