Manchester United have sacked José Mourinho following Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool, ending a tenure that began in May 2016.
A poor start to the Premier League season has seen United slip 19 points behind the leaders, Liverpool, and fall off the pace in the hunt for a top-four place. They have won only once in six league matches, drawing during that sequence with struggling Southampton and Crystal Palace.
Even a José Mourinho gripped by defensive dogma was better than this
Relations between the manager and the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, also seemed strained after the club did not sign a central defender this summer. The club concluded that of the players in that position targeted by Mourinho whom they could potentially land, none was an upgrade on the existing squad.
A sense of disunity at United was encapsulated when Mourinho stripped Pogba of the vice-captaincy before a Carabao Cup defeat by Derby County and confronted him at training the following morning. The manager has criticised his players’ “mental approach”, attitude and quality.
Mourinho has seemed less than happy since the buildup to the season, when he described preparations as “very bad” because many of his senior players were resting after the World Cup.
The manager demanded “respect, respect, respect” for his three Premier League titles following United’s 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham in late August but will not get a chance to add a fourth at Old Trafford.