Facing what appeared to be a massive turning point in its season, Manchester United has shown a sign of support for Jose Mourinho.
Following a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United, the Red Devils revoked the credential of a journalist who had reported Mourinho’s job was in jeopardy the day before, BeIn Sports reported.
The Mirror journalist David McDonnell reported on Friday that Manchester United was preparing to sack Mourinho this weekend no matter the result of the club’s match against Newcastle on Saturday. McDonnell cited “senior United sources” that reportedly claimed Mourinho was “past the point of no return.” The club had failed to win over the last four matches across all competitions coming into the game at Old Trafford, with their worst-ever start to a Premier League season through seven matches.
Before the Newcastle match, United claimed the report was “nonsense,” according to Sky Sports.
After the report was released, multiple pundits – including former Manchester United defender Gary Neville – criticized Manchester United not for the decision to fire Mourinho but for leaking it the day before the match, theoretically undermining his standing and leaving him as a lame duck manager. Manchester United eventually came back from a 2-0 deficit in the match to win 3-2, pushing them up to eighth in the table.
The club’s response does not mean the report was false. It’s entirely possible that McDonnell’s report was accurate, and that Manchester United had indeed planned to fire Mourinho. However, with the negative backlash to the public leak followed by Manchester United’s dramatic comeback on Saturday, the club could have potentially decided to reverse its decision in order to save face, instead pinning the blame on the reporter. The optics of the decision to potentially fire Mourinho despite an emotional performance and a questionable leak would have been quite poor, possibly leading the club to change its mind.