Harry Redknapp slammed Tottenham's players for "massively under-achieving" and turning in "relegation form" to leave Mauricio Pochettino out of a job.
Spurs sacked highly rated manager Pochettino on Tuesday after a poor start to the season that leaves last season's Champions League finalists languishing in 14th place in the Premier League.
Ex-Tottenham boss Redknapp believes chairman Daniel Levy could not countenance missing out on a place in Europe's elite competition having recently moved to a new stadium, with poor domestic form in 2019 forcing his hand.
"I'm surprised but looking at the form, it's been relegation form over the past 24 or 25 games," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.
"That's where they've been from the end of last season into this year.
"Tottenham not making Champions League this year would be a disaster in Daniel's eyes. With the money they've spent on the stadium and the training ground."
Pochettino's players have failed to match the standards Tottenham set for the majority of his five-year tenure this time around and Redknapp told them they should reflect on the fact they cost their manager his job.
"I think they've got a fantastic squad of players. They've got internationals all over the place – Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Son [Heung-min]," he said.
"They're massively under-achieving at the minute. They [the board] have had a look and thought we aren’t going anywhere
"They've pulled the panic button and decided to make the change.
"The players have got him the sack, they've not performed well enough. If they all loved him so much, perhaps they should have done a little bit better for him."
Redknapp tipped bookmaker's favourite Jose Mourinho or Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti to succeed Pochettino – claiming Levy will already be in touch with his chosen candidate if his own experience at White Hart Lane is anything to go by.
"They'll have someone in mind, they'll have spoken to somebody. I know how they work.
"Jose Mourinho, Ancelotti, someone of that ilk. They tried to get Ancelotti when they sacked me. I knew they spoke to him while I was still at the club. They'll have spoken to somebody."
"They probably like Brendan Rodgers but they won’t get Brendan. They spoke to Brendan when they got rid of me."
Although he proclaimed himself a fan of Pochettino, Redknapp was only willing to deem his well-regarded Tottenham tenure as a qualified success.
"They've had one Champions League final. If you look back at the run, it [luck] went their way a little bit," he said. "They've not won a trophy with an incredible squad of players, full of internationals and with possibly the best number nine in the world. They haven't won anything.
"Eventually, Daniel and [Spurs owner] Joe Lewis are going to go 'hang on' especially this year when it looks like they aren't going to make the Champions League. These are ruthless business men, they're very, very clever men."
Redknapp then alluded to Pochettino being a one-time target for Manchester United and added: "He was reasonably successful, I like him. I think he's great
"I think he'll get a big club, there's no doubt about that. I know his advisers spoke to another club in the Premier League, it looked like it was a done deal. He'll be in a big job very shortly."