Photograph: Adam Vaughan/EPA
Tottenham sacked interim manager, Cristian Stellini, in the wake of Sunday’s 6-1 humiliation against Newcastle and put his assistant, Ryan Mason, in charge.
The move was confirmed by the chairman, Daniel Levy, who described the result as unacceptable and devastating and said he took ultimate responsibility.
Levy said in a statement: “Sunday’s performance against Newcastle was completely unacceptable. It was devastating to see. We can look at many reasons why this happened and while I, the board, the coaches and the players all have to take collective responsibility, ultimately the responsibility is mine.
Related: ‘Worst I’ve ever seen’: Stellini laments Tottenham humiliation at Newcastle
“Cristian will leave his current role together with his coaching staff. Cristian intervened at a difficult moment in our season and I want to thank him for the professional way in which he and his coaching staff behaved during such a challenging period. We wish him and his staff well.
Ryan Mason will assume the duties of head coach effective immediately. Ryan knows the club and the players well. We will update further on his coaching staff in due course.
“Today I met the players’ committee: the team is determined to come together to ensure the best possible finish to the season. We are all clear that we must deliver benefits that earn your tremendous support.
Mason, who was passed over for the interim position after the club sacked Antonio Conte on 26 March, was in charge for the final weeks of the 2020-21 season following the sacking of José Mourinho, winning four of six games in Premier League.
Levy needs to get his next permanent management job and hopes to persuade Julian Nagelsmann to take the job in the summer. Nagelsmann, sacked by Bayern Munich on 24 March, withdrew from the race to take over at Chelsea last Friday; the West London club is ready to hire Mauricio Pochettino, former Spurs manager.
Levy has not moved to return to Pochettino despite the obvious attraction towards him, especially his popularity with the fans, who have been chanting his name in recent games. It has led to a feeling that Levy has someone lined up for the end of the season. Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona and Spain manager, is another option.
The immediate priority is to stabilize after Newcastle’s defeat when they were 5-0 down after 21 minutes, which failed on all levels. Stellini had started with a renewed 4-3-3 which he abandoned in the 23rd minute, inserting a third central half, Davinson Sánchez, in place of midfielder Pape Sarr.
Most galling to the supporters who made the 10-hour return journey to Newcastle was the lack of heart in the performance, the sense that almost none of the players were really trying, fueling the belief that Stellini is a colour. failed.
Stellini, who has picked up four points from his four interim games, has only managed once before at first-team level: at Serie C Alessandria in 2017-18 when he lasted 16 games, winning three. There has been no rebound from the new manager at Spurs as – apart from the 23-minute experiment against Newcastle which backfired so spectacularly – little has changed since Conte’s tenure.
Spurs face Manchester United at home on Thursday, when the mood in the stadium could be toxic, before traveling to Liverpool on Sunday. They remain fifth, although their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are slim.