Manchester United sacks Jose Mourinho after poor run, set to pay $28 million as part of termination clause
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 manager, the statement said
Jose Mourinho's turbulent two-and-a-half-year tenure at Manchester United has come to an end after what has been the club's worst-ever start to a Premier League season. The announcement was made by the club in a short statement that thanked the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid manager for his work and confirmed that a caretaker manager would be put in charge until the end of the 2018/19 season.
The 65-word statement 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."
Indications from within the club seemed to suggest that the 55-year-old's job was secure despite a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool this past Sunday that saw them fall 19 points off the pace on the league leaders and, more crucially, 11 points off the fourth and last Champions League qualifying berth. But it seems now as though the lethargic manner with which his side limped to the full-time whistle was the straw that broke the camel's back.
The Daily Mail reported that Mourinho was seen arriving at Carrington just minutes before his sacking was announced, with his termination set to cost the club a hefty £22.5 million (~$28 million) as United are not yet mathematically ruled out of a Champions League place for next season and have qualified for the round of 16 this season.
There are several possible reasons why the club decided to pull the trigger at this moment, not least of which is Mourinho's frayed and increasingly tense relationship with several prominent figures around the club.
The Portuguese was known not to see eye-to-eye with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and had managed to alienate popular dressing room figures such as Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, and Anthony Martial in what has so far been a disastrous third season for the historic club.
Third-season implosions have curiously become characteristic of Mourinho teams since his contentious time in charge at Real Madrid, though few could have predicted such a poor season after the Red Devils finished second in the table last year.
While few will shed a tear as Mourinho departs, the 55-year-old did manage to win a Europa League and a League Cup during his time in charge. Rumors suggest that Woodward is looking to lure the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, and former Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim to the vacant position, though the club statement made it clear that there would no move made for a permanent manager until at least the summer.
For now, the caretaker manager will have to navigate the hectic Christmas schedule and continue to fight for fourth place, as well as keep the club competitive in the FA Cup, and the Champions League, where they face Paris Saint-Germain in February and March.