Tottenham’s stars downed tools under renowned winner Jose Mourinho

WELL, Daniel Levy did say that he wanted to restore Tottenham’s DNA.

The trigger-happy chairman sacking a manager after just four months, following a string of poor performances with the club sliding down the table, fans booing the team and their best players wanting to leave.

Tottemham players looked like they downed tools in Nuno's final game against Man Utd


Tottemham players looked like they downed tools in Nuno’s final game against Man UtdCredit: Reuters

What could be more Spurs than that?

Nuno Espirito Santo became the latest botch on Levy’s bedpost when he was axed yesterday.

And while you cannot blame the former Wolves boss for all of the North Londoners’ ills, he hardly helped himself during his short stint in N17.

From the outside, the softly spoken Portuguese comes across as a quiet and nice fella.

But the reality is he is rude and distant, bordering almost on the arrogant.

A man as cold as the sea off his country’s Atlantic coast in winter was never going to win over a group of over-hyped, mollycoddled players who have spent most of their careers with Mauricio Pochettino’s arm around them.


Truth is, like Levy, Tottenham’s underachieving yet over inflated egotistical stars knew from the outset Nuno was not up to the job.

And if they effectively downed tools under a renowned winner like Jose Mourinho, there is no way they were ever going warm to a B-lister like Nuno.

If Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli & Co thought the Special One was a cold fish, his compatriot successor was positively Arctic.

They knew by the length of Nuno’s two-year deal he was never going to be at Spurs for long.

But with the majority of them having worked previously under Poch and Mourinho, it was always going to be up to Nuno to impress them and, frankly, he did not.

While publicly there were no major training-ground bust-ups, privately the players were becoming increasingly unimpressed with his sessions, selections and tactics.

Going into the first international break top of the table was not greeted inside the club with the joy it should have been.

Jose Mourinho was axed at Tottenham last season


Jose Mourinho was axed at Tottenham last season

Players and those above knew the opening three 1-0 wins were by no means comprehensive and could have easily gone the other way.

Victories over Mura in the Europa Conference League and Aston Villa and Newcastle in the top-flight should have been the platform for Nuno to kick on.

But his announcement before the trip to Vitesse Arnhem that he would be keeping his starting XI for the game at West Ham at home backfired spectacularly.

It split the Tottenham camp into an unprecedented A and B team, with players on both sides of the divide unhappy.

The likes of Dele and Harry Winks knew however well they performed on that Thursday night in Arnhem, they would never have fought their way into Nuno’s first team at the Hammers on Sunday.

Had the manager’s selection gamble paid off, the players would still have been unhappy.

The fact it did not, as Spurs lost both matches 1-0, only angered them further and highlighted their manager’s inadequacies.

Nuno Espirito Santo has been fired by Tottenham


Nuno Espirito Santo has been fired by Tottenham

Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United, when Spurs were booed off by their own fans after failing to produce a single shot on target, was the final straw for Levy and his fellow directors.

And while Nuno, 47, has to hold his hands up, he is not solely responsible for the mess.

Truth is, he should never have been appointed in the first place. The fact Levy took 72 days to hire him and just 122 days to fire him tells you that.

Having axed eight managers in 13 years before hiring Poch in May 2014, the Spurs supremo has now sacked three in under two years.

After unceremoniously booting out Mourinho six days before April’s Carabao Cup final, Levy embarked on a search for a new employee which turned into a farce and soap opera.

Brendan Rodgers, Poch, Julian Nagelsmann, Eric ten Hag, Paulo Fonseca, Graham Potter, Roberto Martinez and Antonio Conte were among those linked with the vacancy during a hunt which, in terms of longevity, was threatening to overtake the one for Nessie.

Levy insisted, rightly so, he was looking to appoint a manager to restore Tottenham’s DNA. Someone who would get them playing fast, attacking football again.

A manager who would make use of the young academy talent. This was not and never will be Nuno. So why appoint him?

Antonio Conte is close to taking over at Tottenham


Antonio Conte is close to taking over at TottenhamCredit: Rex

Levy’s newly appointed director of football, Fabio Paratici, is believed to have championed Nuno.

The Italian hardly covered himself in glory there and if the reports about him bringing in his pal Conte are true, he needs to pray it will be a success, or else he could soon be saying ‘arrivederci’.

Likewise, Spurs stars who have downed tools under the last two bosses now need to start delivering.

That includes Harry Kane, who has spent this season walking around with a face like a smacked backside after failing to force through a move to Manchester City.

Today is 5,000 days since Spurs last lifted a trophy, the League Cup in 2008.

They need to sort themselves out from top to bottom if they do not want to wait that long for their next piece of silverware.

Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

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