Academy coach Ryan Mason is to lead Tottenham Hotspur into the EFL Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday as the youngest manager in the club’s history after being installed as the replacement for the fired Jose Mourinho until the end of the season, the team confirmed yesterday.
The 29-year-old Mason retired from playing in 2018 on medical advice after failing to fully recover from a fractured skull following a clash of heads during an English Premier League game the previous year.
Mourinho, 58, was sacked on Monday, just six days before the EFL Cup final as the Portuguese manager paid the price for a turbulent campaign.
He was dismissed after only 17 months in charge, even though he could have led the club to their first silverware since 2008.
Former England skipper Wayne Rooney, who played under Mourinho when he was in charge at Manchester United, said the Spurs should have waited to sack him.
“I think it’s crazy doing it before a Cup final,” Derby County manager Rooney said. “It’s strange timing anyway. Surely they could have waited until after the Cup final if that’s the direction they wanted to go in.
“Mourinho is a manager who loves winning trophies, that’s quite clear to see. He’s won a lot of trophies throughout his career... If there was one manager to set up a team to play against City in a Cup final it’s Mourinho. Tottenham haven’t had the best of seasons, so from that point of view it’s crazy and a massive risk,” he said.
Tottenham have been struggling in their bid to qualify for the UEFA Champions League via a top-four finish in the English Premier League.
Spurs are seventh, five points behind fourth-placed West Ham United, and suffered a shock Europa League last-16 exit against Dinamo Zagreb.
“The club can today announce that Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff have been relieved of their duties,” a Tottenham statement said.
The bombshell news came less than 24 hours after Tottenham announced they were one of 12 clubs planning to launch a breakaway European Super League.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said: “Jose and his coaching staff have been with us through some of our most challenging times as a club. Jose is a true professional who showed enormous resilience during the [COVID-19] pandemic.”
“On a personal level I have enjoyed working with him and regret that things have not worked out as we both had envisaged,” Levy said.
England captain Kane responded to Mourinho’s exit by tweeting: “Thank you for everything Boss. A pleasure to have worked together. I wish you all the best for your next chapter.”
Son Heung-min was one of the players to thrive under Mourinho and the South Korea forward paid tribute to him.
“I have no words to describe how I’m feeling, it’s been a pleasure to work with you,” Son wrote on Instagram. “I’m sorry things didn’t work out and truly grateful for the time we’ve had together. Good luck and all the best for the future.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
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