Why was Jose Mourinho sacked?
United parted ways with Mourinho on Tuesday morning after the Portuguese oversaw the Reds’ worst start to a league season in 28 years. United are sixth in the Premier League, 19 points adrift of league-leaders Liverpool, after Jurgen Klopp’s side inflicted a humiliating 3-1 defeat on United at Anfield on Sunday.
Mourinho oversaw United’s qualification for the knock-out stages of the Champions League after finishing as runners up in Group H of the competition, and becomes the first United manager to be dismissed with qualification for the following season’s Champions League still a mathematical possibility since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
The M.E.N. reported that the decision to sack Mourinho, who signed a new two-and-a-half year deal in January, comes as a result of the club’s unhappiness with a lack of progress in form this season and concerns over the style of play and the development of youth players under Mourinho.
United lifted the Europa League and the Carabao Cup in Mourinho’s first season in charge at the club, with United finishing second to Manchester City the following season, before Mourinho’s tenure was ended after two-and-a-half years in charge on Tuesday morning.
How was Mourinho sacked?
Mourinho was informed of United’s decision to terminate his contract with immediate effect during a face-to-face meeting with executive-vice chairman Ed Woodward at the club’s Aon Training Complex.
The former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss remained at the training ground for a further three hours before leaving in a chauffeured Jaguar at around 12:45 on Tuesday afternoon.
News broke of Mourinho’s dismissal when the club issued a statement at 09:46, which read: “Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect.
“The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.
“A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.
What happens next at Manchester United?
First-team coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna will oversee training for the next two days before an interim manager is appointed for the remainder of the campaign in time for Saturday evening’s Premier League game at Cardiff.
It is understood that United will appoint an external candidate who ‘put smiles back on people’s faces’ and is ‘steeped in the traditions of the club’.
Further forward, it has been reported that club officials are intent on overseeing a restructuring of the club that will see a director of football installed to oversee football operations at the club. The candidate will report to Woodward and will fulfil a role that Mourinho was averse to during his time at the club.
Who is in line to become the interim United manager?
Laurent Blanc is favorite to replace Mourinho.
The former United defender, who lifted the Premier League trophy with the club in 2003 during his two seasons at the club, fits the parameters set by the club in their hunt for an interim manager.
Blanc, 53, has been out of work since leaving his post as Paris Saint-Germain manager in 2016 and is priced at 6/4 to take the reins at Old Trafford. Zinedine Zidane, who led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League successes, is a 5/1 shot along with former United forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
What have United’s players said about Mourinho’s dismissal?
The M.E.N. exclusively revealed that members of United’s first team were “happy” to learn of Mourinho’s sacking, and hoped to be given the chance to play with more attacking intent under the next incumbent at Old Trafford.
United midfielder Paul Pogba, whose relationship with Mourinho turned sour after the France international was dropped for last season’s Champions League last-16 game against Seville, posted a picture of him (Pogba) smiling on his social media channels with the caption ‘Caption this’ in the aftermath of Mourinho’s dismissal.
How does Mourinho’s departure affect United’s January transfer plans?
United are still prepared to strengthen their playing squad in the January transfer window despite Mourinho’s sacking.
Mourinho was left frustrated by the club’s decision to veto his plans to sign a central defender in the summer, when Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld was deemed too old at 29 to justify the fee north of £50 million quoted by Spurs.
It is understood that United have an existing list of targets which could be pursued if players become available in January.