Jose Mourinho’s turbulent time as Manchester United manager could end with him being sacked as soon as this weekend, according to a British press report.
United’s stuttering start to the season has seen the experienced Portuguese coach’s position at Old Trafford repeatedly called into question.
But the spotlight on Mourinho intensified when Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported late Friday he would be sacked regardless of the result of United’s match at home to Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.
United are struggling in 10th place and last week’s 3-1 loss to West Ham meant they had suffered their worst start to a league campaign in 29 years.
According to the Mirror, Mourinho, 55, has lost the confidence of the board with “senior United sources” telling the paper his nearly two-and-a-half years in charge will end whatever the outcome of the Newcastle game.
Tuesday’s goalless draw against Valencia in the Champions League — a match where United struggled to live up to their fans’ expectation of attacking football — also meant former Chelsea boss Mourinho had gone four home matches without a win for the first time in his managerial career.
“Yes, I accept (it is not good enough),” Mourinho, who has reportedly had several bust-ups with star player Paul Pogba this season, said when asked about United’s losing streak during a pre-match press conference earlier Friday.
The press conference, called for the unusually early time of 8:00 am (0700 GMT), lasted a mere eight minutes and 29 seconds.
But that was time enough for Mourinho to suggest United’s results would pick up.
“We are better than this and because we are better than this, our situation is going to improve. I have no doubts about that,” he said.
Mourinho responded to the criticism coming his way by claiming United overachieved in finishing second last season, 19 points behind champions Manchester City, adding he always expected this campaign to be more difficult.
“I think opponents with much more potential than us finished behind us,” he said.
“That is the reason why it was a phenomenal season.”
United became a byword for managerial stability during Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden 26-and-a-half years in charge.
But were Mourinho to be dismissed, it would mean United had got through three full-time managers, plus club great Ryan Giggs’s spell as caretaker, in the five years since the legendary Scottish boss retired in 2013 — a period that has coincided with the club failing to win either the Premier League or Europe’s Champions League.