Nuno is out. Tottenham Hotspur have cut ties with head coach Nuno Espirito Santo after just four months in charge.
Club announcement.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 1, 2021
The Club can today announce that Nuno Espírito Santo and his coaching staff Ian Cathro, Rui Barbosa and Antonio Dias have been relieved of their duties.
Fabio Paratici, Managing Director, Football, said: “I know how much Nuno and his coaching staff wanted to succeed and I regret that we have had to take this decision.
“Nuno is a true gentleman and will always be welcome here. We should like to thank him and his coaching staff and wish them well for the future.”
A further coaching update will follow in due course.
Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy and Managing Director of Football Fabio Paratici made the decision after a humiliating 3-0 home loss to Manchester United on Saturday, a match that was dogged by a toxic in-stadium attitude and a near-revolt by Spurs fans in attendance. An initial report in the Telegraph suggested that Spurs were expected to stand by Nuno at least until the forthcoming international break in two weeks, but today multiple outlets reported that his tenure was hanging by a thread and that Spurs were considering making a change.
Nuno was not Tottenham’s first choice, or even its fifth — his appointment on July 1 came after a long and embarrassingly public process that saw Spurs rejected by high profile managers such as Julian Nagelsmann, Antonio Conte, and Mauricio Pochettino, an equally embarrassing withdrawal of an offer to Paulo Fonseca, and an aborted flirtation with Gennaro Gattuso that was abandoned after supporter uproar.
Nuno was hired after initially being passed over by Levy, but even after his appointment faced an uphill battle to win the hearts and minds of supporters. He was initially embraced due almost purely being emphatically Not Jose Mourinho™, but his overly defensive tactics were similar to the man he replaced in charge. From the beginning of Nuno’s tenure, Spurs looked tactically inept, without a clear plan on how to progress the ball through the midfield and relying on a double pivot of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp as defensive anchors. That, plus a misfiring Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane, meant Spurs have scored only nine goals in ten league matches, while conceding 16.
It’s not clear what happens now. Spurs will carry on in the short term with an interim manager, but the sting of the botched summer managerial appointment process still sticks in the craw, while Levy and Paratici face the daunting challenge of finding Spurs’ next manager mid-season and without very many good options.
Already the rumor mill is flying with reports linking managers like another approach for both Conte and Fonseca, River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo, and others. With the international break forthcoming, it’s quite likely Levy and Paratici will try and find a permanent replacement sometime during that period. Until then, expect continued speculation.
It goes without saying that Tottenham’s performances have been an outright disaster since the firing of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019. It makes the next appointment — once again — the most critical one Spurs have had in a long, long time.