WHAT next then for Jose Mourinho?
Surely there’s no future for him in the Premier League, whatever that is going to look like now.
Nor in the European Super League, whether that even becomes a reality.
To be sacked by Tottenham Hotspur after just 17 months in charge, and just six days before the Carabao Cup final, is a crushing humiliation for one of football’s most successful, and most egotistical, managers.
The timing is absolutely brutal.
Mourinho had been brought to Spurs to win trophies. Yet a week before his opportunity to lead the club to a first piece of silverware in 13 years, he is out on his ear.
Mourinho’s powers are clearly fading and his man-management methods are out-dated.
He was fired by Chelsea with the club citing ‘palpable discord’ between the Portuguese and the players who had won him the title just months before.
Then he lost the dressing room following a couple of years of relative success at Manchester United.
And now the majority of Tottenham players had clearly turned against Mourinho, too.
During Mourinho’s first press conference as a Premier League manager, at Chelsea back in 2004, he declared himself ‘a Special One’.
But in what is likely to be his final pre-match press briefing in England, before Tottenham’s draw at Everton last Friday, a bewildered Mourinho found himself bombarded with questions about social-media insults from Dulux, the club’s new official paint partner.
“Who’s Dulux?” is not exactly a classic one-liner to remember him by.
Mourinho won seven major honours, including three Premier League titles, during two spells at Chelsea and two more trophies at United.
But his move to Spurs always looked like being a challenge for a manager used to big spending and instant success.
Still he managed to alienate three players who were established England internationals when he arrived at White Hart Lane — Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Harry Winks — and fell out with countless more along the way, including Gareth Bale, record signing Tanguy Ndombele and Toby Alderweireld.
There were rumblings right from the start about tedious old-school training sessions from a group of players who worked like dogs under Mourinho’s predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino, but who begrudgingly appreciated that the Argentinian’s methods worked.
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Mourinho’s habit of publicly criticising his players, individually or collectively, caused concerns throughout his Spurs reign — but many were still on board until the last couple of months.
Tottenham led the Premier League in the middle of December with his counter-attacking style suiting the partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, who enjoyed an extraordinary purple patch.
Yet he could not perform his usual trick of short-term success, followed by a third- season meltdown.
This time the implosion was premature even by his standards.
Mourinho will still be an in-demand pundit — charismatic, outspoken and with a glorious, if dated, CV to back up his colourful words.
Perhaps he will join Roy Keane and Graeme Souness again on Sky — and he would still be a compelling listen.
Or maybe at 58, he might fancy a stab at the Portugal national job in the not-too-distant future.
But would any of Europe’s largest clubs take a punt, whether or not they break away from football’s established order?
It is difficult to imagine it after this.
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