Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.
The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.
But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.
This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic league titles in four different countries – Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. “The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Mourinho has won Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.
The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.
Mourinho was sacked last December following a poor run of results and has been out of work since, most recently working as a TV pundit.
His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday.
Despite their recent poor run, Tottenham thrived under Pochettino’s leadership.
They qualified for the Champions League four times, culminating in a dramatic run to the club’s first ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
However, domestic results had been on the decline since February, with Spurs clinging on to a top-four finish last season despite winning just three of their final 12 league games.
That form has continued at the start of this season and Mourinho arrives with the club 11 points outside the Premier League top four, 20 behind leaders Liverpool and just six points above the relegation zone, though they are well placed to reach the last 16 of the Champions League despite the Bayern humiliation.
Levy said the club had been “extremely reluctant” to make the change, pointing at the poor domestic results.
The job done by Pochettino was all the more remarkable given the tight budget he was afforded by Levy for transfers and wages in comparison to Tottenham’s Premier League rivals, as the club built a new stadium at a cost of more than £1 billion ($1.3 billion).
Instead, much of Pochettino’s success came from nurturing a squad of young players into household names such as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.
“I can’t thank this man enough,” Alli tweeted alongside a picture of Pochettino with the England international.
“He’s taught me so much and I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for me. Good luck and hope to see you again my friend.”
Spurs were forced to play at temporary home Wembley for the entirety of the 2017/18 campaign and most of last season before moving into their new 62,000 capacity ground in April.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust questioned Levy’s role in the diminishing results on the pitch.
“Is the manager solely accountable? How much has the board’s line on wages and transfers contributed to player unrest and disaffection?” THST said in a statement.
“Poch gave us many of our best moments as supporters, made Tottenham Hotspur a force to be reckoned with again, and forged a strong link with the fans. We will never forget the joy he brought us.”