Tottenham are reportedly considering sacking acting head coach Cristian Stellini after Sunday’s thrashing at Newcastle saw the season take yet another turn for the worse.
Reports claim Stellini may be replaced before Thursday’s visit of Manchester United having failed to bring about an upturn in results.
The 48-year-old was part of Antonio Conte’s backroom staff at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and stepped into the top job on a temporary basis when his fellow Italian was sacked last month.
Spurs are now outsiders in the race for a Champions League place and sit six points adrift of United despite playing two more games.
Stellini, in his first managerial role, has overseen just one win in his four games in charge – a 2-1 victory over Brighton.
Spurs could only manage a draw away to relegation-threatened Everton and were beaten by a late Bournemouth goal last weekend before an embarrassing loss at Newcastle on Sunday.
The Magpies ran riot, racing into a five-goal lead inside 21 minutes before eventually sealing a 6-1 win.
Reports began to emerge throughout Monday that the result would ultimately cost Stellini his position as he told his bruised and battered troops to put their humiliation at Newcastle firmly behind them.
Stellini told SPURSPLAY: “Now, we have to be responsible. We have to go back to our stadium, back after this performance.
“We have to throw this feeling away, immediately.”
That may prove easier said than done after Spurs were ripped apart inside 21 minutes on Tyneside.
They were 3-0 down just nine minutes in after Jacob Murphy struck twice either side of Joelinton’s fine finish and the game was over before the first half had reached its mid-point when Alexander Isak helped himself to a quick-fire double.
Harry Kane, who had earlier fired just wide when he might have done better, reduced the deficit four minutes after the break, but substitute Callum Wilson ensured a bleak afternoon in the north-east ended in further misery.
Asked what he had said at half-time, Stellini, who had opted to start with a back four in which Croatia international midfielder Ivan Perisic lined up at left-back, said: “We didn’t speak a lot.
“We changed the system and the only thing we could say was that we had to play much better in the second half and prepare for the next game.
“I didn’t want to lose the second half. It was important to find a bit of confidence, if you can, after a game like this.”
As he reflected on the wreckage of a catastrophic trip north, Stellini issued an apology for an abject display and vowed to get to the bottom of what had gone so badly wrong.
He said: “We have to analyse, take a breath and understand what happened from the start in an important game like today. We have to take a breath and don’t speak too much.
“The best thing we can say is that we apologise to everyone; the second is to analyse why and if the change of system affected this performance, because the performance in the first 25 minutes was really bad.”
If Stellini is to be relieved of his duties, first-team coach Ryan Mason could be handed temporary charge for a second time with chairman David Levy likely to wait for the end of the season to appoint a permanent successor to Conte.