Manchester United have dismissed reports that Jose Mourinho will be fired after their game against Newcastle on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
A report from the Daily Mirror broke on Friday stating that Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford was up and he’d be fired regardless of the result against Newcastle.
However, United have called that report “nonsense” according to Sky Sports, with the Red Devils set to back Mourinho despite their worst-ever start to a Premier League season and their worst start to a league campaign for 29 years.
United have lost three of their opening seven PL games, while they were also dumped out of the League Cup by second-tier Derby County on penalty kicks.
In recent weeks Mourinho has criticized several of his star players, has had a public spat with club-record signing Paul Pogba and has demanded respect from the media as the vultures circle.
It appears that at least for now the Portuguese coach is safe, but a defeat at home to Newcastle (who are without a win this season) ahead of the international break would surely leave Mourinho in a perilous situation.
Given the fact that a vast majority of United’s fans still support Mourinho, the pressure is being cranked up on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Despite delivering huge financial gains off the pitch, Woodward’s decisions to hire and fire managers has to be heavily scrutinized.
With no Director of Football in place at United, it is being suggested that those in charge of high-level matters (Woodward and Co.) don’t have the required knowledge to help the team and Mourinho prevail. Gary Neville said as much in this rant.
Recent player recruitment certainly suggests that, as Mourinho was left incensed by the failure to not sign a center back this summer despite publicly stating that was his main aim in the transfer market.
What United are now left with is a moody manager and a squad of players that feel under-appreciated. There is little harmony within the playing and coaching staff and behind the scenes the likes of Woodward do not appear able to solve the problems which have riddled the 20 times champions of England ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.