Villas-Boas fired as Tottenham manager

Andre Villas-Boas was cast as the heir apparent to Jose Mourinho

when he breezed into English football in June 2011 as one of

Europe’s top young coaches.

After flopping at two top clubs, he leaves the Premier League 2

1/2 years later with that reputation in tatters.

Villas-Boas was fired by Tottenham on Monday after 17 months in

charge, having failed to gel a slew of expensive summer signings in

a season blotted by three embarrassing defeats in the Premier

League.

On Sunday, Spurs slumped to a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool that

left the team seventh in the Premier League. They were 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.”

Villas-Boas had been looking to rebuild his reputation in

England that had plummeted after being fired eight months into a

spell at Chelsea. It is unlikely now that another leading Premier

League team will take a gamble on Villas-Boas, despite his

successful stint in charge of FC Porto in the 2010-11 season when

he guided the side to the Portuguese league title without losing a

game, and also won the Europa League and the Portuguese Cup.

The Portuguese coach was halfway through a three-year contract

at Tottenham.

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, however, boasting the best win percentage

(53.7) in the league of any Spurs manager in the Premier League

era.

”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).

Spurs announced later Monday that three members of Villas-Boas’

backroom staff – Jose Mario Rocha, Luis Martins and Daniel Sousa –

have also left.

Technical co-ordinator Tim Sherwood will take temporary charge

of the first team along with coaches Chris Ramsey and Les

Ferdinand, starting with Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal

against West Ham.

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.

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.

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