According to a report by David McDonnell of English publication The Mirror, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be fired this weekend no matter the result of United’s match against Newcastle on Saturday.
The report states that Mourinho is “past the point of no return” in the eyes of the Manchester United board. The Red Devils are off to their worst start to a top-flight season in 29 years, sitting in 10th place with 10 points through seven matches. They have failed to win in four straight matches across all competitions, with losses to West Ham in the Premier League plus one to Derby County on penalties in League Cup action.
The Mirror’s report cites “senior United sources” and states the leader of the charge to make a change is executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Letting Mourinho go would be a costly move to the club, as he signed a contract extension just nine months ago that runs through 2020 with an option for one more year. He reportedly makes upwards of $23.6 million per year, and United would be required to honor the remaining balance on his contract should they cut him loose.
Mourinho has come under fire from the media for his divisive treatment of players such as Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, but has managed to keep the supporters on his side, reflected by the repeated chants in support of Mourinho during Manchester United home matches at Old Trafford. However, the fans have also voiced their displeasure at the performances on the pitch, booing the team off in the most recent 0-0 draw with Valencia at Old Trafford in Champions League play.
The Mirror report does not address why Manchester United has decided Mourinho’s fate so late in the week and then left him with an apparent lame duck status for the Newcastle match. Should Mourinho indeed go, assistant coach Michael Carrick would likely take charge in an interim role, the report states. Zinedine Zidane has been repeatedly mentioned as a favorite for the potential opening, having been without a job since leaving Real Madrid this summer on his own accord.
Each and every day it feels like there is a fresh, newsworthy incident involving Mourinho. The most recent sign of Mourinho’s combative nature came Friday during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Newcastle match. He was asked, “Are the fans assured that you’re doing everything that you can to try and turn this around?” Instead of answering the question, Mourinho simply stared blankly at the reporters for several seconds before the press officer was forced to move the press conference forward. The press conference featured a mere six questions and took less than four minutes before Mourinho decided he’d had enough.
Should Mourinho end up sacked, it would mark his fourth tenure in his last five in which he was either fired or left in the third season. The only tenure that stands out of the usual path is his two-year stretch at Inter before he departed for Real Madrid.
Mourinho’s potential sacking would also mean that all three managers who have attempted to follow in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s footsteps will have failed, as the club has still yet to win a Premier League title in the wake of his retirement. David Moyes failed to last even a full calendar year, while Louis Van Gaal made it almost two years in charge and Mourinho has been at his current position since May of 2016.