Andre Villas-Boas fired by Spurs after 5-0 loss

STEVE DOUGLAS
Last updated 06:20 17/12/2013
Andre Villas-Boas
Reuters
OUT THE DOOR: Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Tottenham Hotspur.

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Failing to gel a slew of expensive signings cost Andre Villas-Boas his job as Tottenham manager.

Villas-Boas' 17-month spell at White Hart Lane came to an end Monday, a day after Tottenham slumped to a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool and left the team seventh in the Premier League.

Tottenham was also humbled 6-0 by Manchester City last month and 3-0 by West Ham in October, exposing the shortcomings of a side that has had problems scoring despite an offseason outlay of around 107 million pounds ($174 million) on mostly attacking players.

"The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services," Tottenham said in a statement. "The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties."

Spurs haven't looked the same this season without Gareth Bale, whose record move to Real Madrid for 100 million euros ($132 million) allowed the club to embark on a spending spree that brought in seven players, including Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.

Bale won many games almost single-handedly for Tottenham last season, scoring 21 goals and being voted English football's player of the year.

Villas-Boas departs despite having the best win percentage (53.7) in the league of any Spurs manager in the Premier League era, and further sullies his reputation in England after being fired eight months into a spell at Chelsea in the 2011-12 season. The Portuguese coach was halfway through a three-year contract at Tottenham.

"This is a top-four squad but in our Premier League form, we are not there," the 36-year-old Villas-Boas said after the Liverpool match, when he pledged that he wouldn't resign. "We admit that in the Premier League things aren't going in any shape or form the way we want."

Villas-Boas is the fifth Premier League manager to lose his job this season, after Paolo Di Canio (Sunderland), Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace), Martin Jol (Fulham) and Steve Clarke (West Bromwich Albion).

The British media speculated Monday that Fabio Capello was a potential replacement for Villas-Boas, even though the Italian is due to coach Russia at next year's World Cup in Brazil. A move to Spurs would see him reunited with Franco Baldini, his former assistant at England who is now Tottenham's technical director.

Other names reportedly in the frame are ex-Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup and Baldini himself. The agent of Guus Hiddink ruled the respected Dutch coach out of the running Monday.

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Whoever does succeed Villas-Boas will take over a team that has made it through to the knockout stage of the Europa League and is still in contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League. Spurs host West Ham in a League Cup quarterfinal match on Wednesday.

Tottenham's large squad is also crammed with talent, so the job would be enticing to many.

The new coach's first task would be improving the team's strike rate of only 15 goals in 16 league games this season and then shore up a defense that was breached with embarrassing ease by City and Liverpool over the past month.

It is unlikely that another top team in England will take a gamble on Villas-Boas in the future, despite his successful stint in charge of FC Porto in the 2010-11 season when he guided the team to the Portuguese league title without losing a game, and also won the Europa League and the Portuguese Cup.

- AP

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