And some further watching:
That’s all folks
Here are some of the pieces we have published on José today:
• José’s gone: the news story
• David Squires’s cartoon
• Mauricio Pochettino reacts
• What it means for the Lowry Hotel
• Fans in Manchester give their take on Mourinho’s departure
• Mourinho v the media
• The Mourinho years in pictures
• Who should take over?
• How it all went wrong in Mourinho’s third season
• Why Romelu Lukaku needs to step up
Thanks for reading.
Three stories you might have missed today amid all the Mourinho chat:
Adam Hurrey here with some old gold.
All this talk of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returning to Manchester has reminded me about the time he came off the bench and scored four goals in 11 minutes against Nottingham Forest in 1999. United won that game 8-1, having been just 2-1 up at half time.
The match has its very own Wikipedia page, which mentions the brilliant fact that there were only 10 shots on target and nine of them went in the net! The fixture was played on 6 February – the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster – and I don’t think the two clubs have faced each other since (certainly not in the league anyway).
More evidence of just how bad things became under Mourinho this season.
More from Jamie Jackson:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signalled more than a year ago that, despite being in charge of Molde, United was his dream job.
“It’s a dream, of course,” he said in November 2017 to United.no (the Manchester United supporters’ club Scandinavia). “You never know what path your career may take. If I do well with Molde for, let’s say five years, then an opportunity may suddenly unfold at some point. That’s a dream I have to be allowed to have, even though it seems quite distant right now.”
Of the reception he received from United fans when taking charge of Cardiff City in January 2014 at Old Trafford. “It wasn’t easy to stand there in the dugout as a Cardiff manager when the United fans cheered for me for almost the whole game. But it was like coming home. Old Trafford is home.”
Our financial reporter Jasper Jolly has been following developments on the stock market:
The world’s investors have delivered their verdict on Jose Mourinho’s exit from Manchester United, with the price of shares in the New York-listed football club rising by more than 4%.
Investment analysts said investors had reacted positively to United “biting the bullet” and firing Mourinho, after poor performance on the pitch and evident discord in the dressing room had started to threaten the company’s financials.
The company has guided the stock market to expect earnings of between £175m and £190m for the year to the end of June 2019. Revenues are expected at between £615m and £630m.
The immediate priority for the caretaker management will be to prevent an exodus of players, which could result in costly writedowns on their value, said John Tinker, a financial analyst at US research firm Gabelli. “What you can’t afford at this level is for the toxicity to spread,” he said.
United’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange rallied strongly over the summer, buoyed by the performances of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, who was a key part of France’s World Cup-winning midfield.
Bosses at Manchester United, led by executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, have acted to stem the damage of the worst start to a season in 28 years. The run of bad results contributed to the loss of more than a third of the club’s value, with shares falling as low as $17 in December, after hitting a peak of $27.70 per share in August.
The executive team should also focus on investing in its academy and bringing players through to the senior team, said Tinker. The academy programme costs around £2m per year, compared to more than £400m in spending on players under Mourinho, including a then world record £89m on Pogba.
But analysts at Deutsche Bank, in a note written before Mourinho’s departure, have highlighted the continued strength of Manchester United, which earns almost half its revenues from commercial operations, including sponsorships and brand licensing, on multi-year contracts.
Some good news for the next Manchester United manager. There will be no replays in the fifth round of the FA Cup this season, a development that is designed to reduce fixture congestion for the top six, who are all still in Europe. Yes, I’m as surprised as you are. Manchester United are in the top six.
Geoffrey Goff makes a good point in this email:
Paul, why don’t we look outside the usual suspects? Pochettino would be a great fit but, as someone else has already pointed out, why would he want to go to Old Trafford? Shedloads of money might help, but I think he’s more likely to end up at Real Madrid in any case.
So, why not take a look at Lucien Favre, the manager of Borussia Dortmund, currently topping the Bundesliga with what Wikipedia describes as “a dynamic, quick and attacking-minded football where ball possession and change of tempo alternate”. Favre is also well known for his ability to develop talented young players and introduce them into the first team. I’d settle for that. He might even be able to bring Jadon Sancho with him.
Not everyone in Manchester will be happy to see Mourinho go. The Lowry Hotel have made at least £537,000 from his 895-night stay in the city. He could have bought a big house for that – although spending money hasn’t been his forte in the last few years.
Guess what the Fiver is about today?
Want to receive our football email every weekday? Sign up here:
That contract feels longer by the year.
Earlier in the season, when Inter visited Camp Nou in the group stage of the Champions League, we published an article about one of Mourinho’s greatest moments: when he beat Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals and went on to win the treble with Inter. Look at how happy he was in those pictures. Very little of that old fire has been on show this season.
José Mourinho signed 11 players as Manchester United manager. The only real success I can see in there is Zlatan, the one who cost nothing.
Eric Bailly: £30m
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: free
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: £30m
Paul Pogba: £89m
Victor Lindelof: £30.7m
Romelu Lukaku: £75m
Nemanja Matic: £40m
Alexis Sanchez: swap with Mkhitaryan
Diogo Dalot: £19m
Lee Grant: £1.5m
Some sympathy from below the line.
And some tidy wordplay.
Steven Gerrard has also been asked about Mourinho:
Big news, but it’s none of my business. He’s obviously a world-class manager. He’s a winner. How can I sit here and say anything bad about José Mourinho? He’s a serial winner.
He’s been sacked at Manchester United but he’s won them a couple of trophies. He’s done the best job since Alex Ferguson’s left. He came in and put a couple of trophies in the cabinet. I don’t think you can criticise him too much.
It will be interesting to see which direction they go in next. Although none of the Manchester United fans will care what I say about it, so it’s none of my business.
It’s hard to believe that just last month José Mourinho was celebrating on the pitch after Manchester United had beaten Juventus in Turin. Where does he go now? Mourinho has looked like a man in need of a rest for some time. Football management – and especially his confrontational style of football management – is a wearying game.
Perhaps he should follow Pep Guardiola’s example and take a sabbatical. Guardiola moved to New York for a year and enjoyed the relative anonymity that came from living in Manhattan (on the street where John Lennon was shot). He attended the US Open in Flushing Meadows, went to the Ryder Cup in Chicago and made time for a spot of lunch with Alex Ferguson, but Guardiola’s time in the city was really about stepping back from football for a while. Mourinho looks as if he needs some time away from the game too.
Mauricio Pochettino refused to talk about the Manchester United job today but did send his commiserations to Mourinho.
“I want to send my best wishes to him. I feel so sorry because you know very well, I have a very good relationship with him. He’s a very good friend and it’s sad news what happened today. It’s not my business what happens in another club. Only I want to send my best wishes to José.”
Jürgen Klopp has been speaking about Mourinho today. It was United’s dire 3-1 defeat at Liverpool that proved the final straw for the club’s hierarchy and Klopp reflected:
When I met him, he never changed. He’s a very competitive guy, very ambitious, really competitive. He has all my respect, he’s been unbelievably successful. I can imagine in the last few months especially they were not a joy for anybody, especially not for him. It’s not nice that he had to face these questions every day, that’s a problem. But apart from that, nobody can take away all the things he won.
I wish personally that he has that in his mind when he leaves and not a few other things that happened in last few months. He’s an outstanding manager, all the rest I have no idea, you have to ask other people.
Peter Pollock makes a fair point: “Why would Pochettino go to United? He’s got a settled team ready to move into a fantastic new stadium and a chairman who lets him get on with the job, which he’s very good at.”
I think there have definitely been times (last summer perhaps) when Old Trafford would have appealed – but will Pochettino want to walk away when his transitional work is so close to being done?
Don’t ask me, ask Paul Campbell, who returns to the hot seat ... now!
Here are a couple of nifty charts showing how Mourinho outperformed his predecessors, but fell too far short of his rivals’ high standards.
Josh Halliday went to chat with the United fans milling around outside Old Trafford – judging by their comments, Ed Woodward might want to exit via the back door later on.
Resolve the Paul Pogba situation, rebuild the defence and put someone, anyone, in charge of transfers. Here’s Paul Wilson on the next United manager’s in-tray:
A lot of the talk today has been about who replaces Mourinho – but where will the Portuguese head next after checking out of the Lowry? Early predictions from the bookmakers suggest he could return to Real Madrid or Internazionale, or hold out with his giant payout until the Portugal national team job comes up. Any Chinese Super League club, at a tidy 11-2, looks the best bet to me.
Solskjaer in the running for caretaker role
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the current favourite to be United’s caretaker manager, it is understood. The 45-year-old is in charge of Molde but as Norway’s season finished in November, he may be free to retain that role and take over United now. What would occur when Molde start their new campaign in March is unclear.
Two and a half years can be a long time in football, as illustrated by this gallery. Not so long ago there were fans outside Old Trafford celebrating the fact they had signed Mourinho.
It will be interesting to see if the next manager continues to pick Romelu Lukaku. As pointed out by Martin Laurence in this article, the big striker has really struggled this season. He did not have a single shot against Liverpool on Sunday and has taken fewer shots than Virgil van Dijk since the start of October.
How about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager until the end of the season?
He played for the club for over a decade
He is responsible for the greatest moment in their history
He speaks English fluently
He has managerial experience
He is a patron of the supporters’ trust.
Heaven knows he’s miserable now. This is brilliant.
An email from Abaikoo Mensah:
Why is no one considering Arsène Wenger? He has everything United need.
Who might replace Mourinho?
Our esteemed football editor Marcus Christenson has selected 10 possible contenders to take over at the end of the season. Diego Simeone would be good fun.
Ryan Giggs, whose most recent game as Wales manager ended in a 1-0 defeat to Albania, also makes the list. Incidentally, Giggs was appointed caretaker manager after David Moyes was sacked in 2014. He won two of his four games in charge, giving him the same win percentage as Tim Sherwood.
Gary Neville has been making the case for Mauricio Pochettino to take over at Old Trafford. It’s a great idea in principle, but Pochettino signed a five-year contract at Tottenham earlier this year. Daniel Levy is unlikely to wave him out the door.
I said last season that the next manager of Manchester United should be Pochettino. If I look at the values of United, you look at Pochettino’s belief in young players at Southampton and with Tottenham. You look at his performance levels and style of play, the way in which he carries himself at all times - publicly and in private - I have been fortunate enough to spend two or three days at Tottenham’s training ground. And for me, he just feels like the most ideal candidate.
There will be others who say ‘no’ about Pochettino, but United have tried managers who have won European Cups, managers who have won multiple leagues, managers who have had that solid grounding in the Premier League. My view is they need someone who meets the three key principles of that football club - the promotion of youth, entertaining football and to win football matches.
So at this moment in time, I see him - and people will suggest that he has not won a trophy yet at Tottenham, but with a net spend of minus £29m, or something over the last four years, he could not have done more. He has done the most incredible job and I do think he is the person who is the most outstanding candidate.
Fancy a change of pace? This documentary about the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate is superb. And you could watch it all in your lunch hour.
If only José Mourinho had been allowed to sign Leonardo Bonucci and Harry Maguire in the summer. After all, the two centre-backs are among the best 100 male footballers in the world. The countdown begins today. Nice quiet day for it.
An email from Matt Dony, the joker.
From what I’ve heard, there’s a young manager doing some good things up at Rangers. Maybe they should give him a call?
A few days after Chelsea sacked Mourinho in 2015, we published this long read by Jonathan Wilson. It is remarkable how little the story has changed in three years. This paragraph seems especially fitting today:
In the eight seasons after taking the Porto job, Mourinho won six league titles and two Champions Leagues. Since going to Madrid in 2010 he has won just two league titles. Very few managers thrive at the very top for more than a decade: it is an emotionally and psychologically gruelling profession and football is always changing; the process of perpetual evolution is draining. It may be that Mourinho’s best is past.
We published this story three years and one day ago. If anything, the situation was even worse when Chelsea sacked Mourinho in December 2015. United are currently sixth in the Premier League, whereas Chelsea – the reigning champions at the time – had slumped to 16th in the table after nine defeats in 16 games.
Patrice Evra wants us all to respect the badge and spread the love.
Want to receive all the best bits of our sports coverage in one handy email every Friday? Sign up here.
Three is not the magic number for Mourinho.
An email from Justin Kavanagh:
Why is nobody mentioning Roy Keane as a temporary manager? He’s free and he’s fired up about Jesse Lingard’s clothing brand. Give these players six months of Roy’s sharp tongue and they’ll play like demons for whoever succeeds him.
If you’re looking for a Christmas present, there are some JLingz could be just the ticket. Apparently the clothes are inspired from “the streetwear scene and contemporary fashion to reflect his own style”. These swimming trunks are particularly fetching.
Jürgen Klopp always seems to be involved when José Mourinho loses his job, as noted by reader Anthony O’Connell.
2013: Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund hammer Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals and Mourinho says: “I am loved by some clubs, especially one. In Spain it is different, some people hate me.” He’s gone a few weeks later.
2015: Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool
Jürgen Klopp picks up his first win in the Premier League and piles the pressure on the beleaguered looking Chelsea manager. Mourinho responds to the defeat by saying “I can’t express my feelings in any way at all.” Chelsea lose three more league games and Mourinho is gone before Christmas.
2018: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
United lose badly at Anfield. Mourinho is sacked a few days later.
A Portuguese manager who had a tough time at Real Madrid. Haven’t we been here before?
Mourinho will be paid “no more than £15m” to leave his job. I’m sure a few of us would settle for less. It’s never nice to lose your job, but those millions will hopefully give him some comfort. He can also take solace from knowing he wasn’t sacked on Christmas Day – like his dad, another football manager who went through a tough period during the festive season. Mourinho told the full story back in 2004:
“I was nine or 10 years old and my father was sacked on Christmas Day. He was a manager [of Rio Ave], the results had not been good, he lost a game on December 22 or 23. On Christmas Day, the telephone rang and he was sacked in the middle of our lunch. So I know all about the ups and downs of football, I know that one day I will be sacked.”
What happens next
Jamie Jackson has been in touch with some more details about why Mourinho was sacked and what will happen next.
Why he was sacked
United finally lost patience with a head coach who was not adhering to the club’s core attacking values and who had overseen their worst start to a campaign for 28 years. Mourinho was also relieved of his duties due to a transfer spend of around £400m on 11 players that, it is understood, the club insist were all the Portuguese’s choice.
In addition to the disquiet regarding the side’s stultifying style, there was further disappointment at Mourinho’s development and improvement of United’s younger players. The club also took into account the growing unhappiness from fans at the direction of the club under Mouinho.
What happens next
It is understood the compensation due to Mourinho will be no more than £15m. Michael Carrick will take charge of training on Tuesday, before an interim boss is appointed. That move is expected to happen before the end of the week.
That caretaker role will last until the end of the season but this will not be Carrick, Nicky Butt or anyone from within the club. Instead, following a thorough and extensive process will have Mourinho’s permanent successor in place for next season.
Some hard truths from the below the line.
He is available...
David Squires has filed his cartoon. It features GHD straighteners, a washing machine and José Mourinho!
Let’s remember the good times for a minute. Mourinho did win
two trophies at the club (two more than Pochettino has ever won). He won the Europa League and EFL Cup last year. Those were the days.
It’s hard to argue with Gary Lineker. After 17 games, United do not have a positive goal difference. They have already conceded 29 goals in the league – one more than they conceded in 38 games last season. They were knocked out of the League Cup by Derby County and are massive outsiders to beat PSG in the Champions League. This season has been a disaster.
Gary Neville has entered Paul Pogba’s caption competition.
Chris from Gipsy Hill has been in touch to make the case for Laurent Blanc:
Laurent Blanc? He’s ex-United and admired within the club. He has big-job experience with PSG and France and he’s not currently working (though still presumably working through that €22m payout from PSG a couple of years ago). They even call him Le Président, which seems to me the perfect antidote after the football club equivalent of a toddler tantrum.
Here’s what Blanc made of the speculation when he was linked to the club in 2010:
Here are some of the contenders to take the job full-time. United fans, who do you want? Giggsy after the end of the season? As a side note, I didn’t know that Zidane and Pochettino are both 46.
The former Real Madrid manager has been heavily linked with United since leaving the Bernabéu in May. The 46-year-old made the rare journey from great player to great coach in under two-and-a-half years in charge of Real. In that time he became the first manager to win the European Cup in three consecutive seasons while playing an exciting brand of football.
Tottenham manager Pochettino has been on United’s radar since he lunched with Ferguson at a Mayfair restaurant in 2016. Not winning any trophies has been the stick to beat 46-year-old Pochettino with during his time in north London. But the Argentinian plays bright, attacking football and was high on United’s list of targets to replace Louis van Gaal. Influential figures at Old Trafford are said to be big fans of Pochettino, who throughout his career has blooded young players in the United way. But prising him away from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would prove extremely difficult, if not impossible.
United fans of a certain vintage will recall Deschamps being described by their former favourite Eric Cantona as a “water carrier” and a Juventus foe playing against Ferguson teams of the 1990s. The 49-year-old might not have been the most stylish of players, but his France team which won the 2018 World Cup had it in spades. Deschamps has club experience at Monaco, Juventus and Marseille, but could he be tempted away from the France national team where he has a contract until 2020?
The former France international and manager has great pedigree with the club after spending his final two years as a player at Old Trafford. Blanc, a no-nonsense centre-back in his playing days, finished his career with a Premier League winners’ medal under Sir Alex Ferguson. He guided Bordeaux to an unlikely second-placed finish in his first season before claiming the Ligue 1 title the following year after setting a then competition record of 11 straight victories. Blanc became France manager in 2010 and lost to eventual 2012 World Cup winners Spain at the quarter-final stage before stepping down after the tournament. PSG followed, where he won 11 trophies in three seasons before he left in 2016. Blanc may have been out of the game for two years, but he demands an expansive brand of football which United fans are craving for.
The Wales manager is among the greatest players ever to represent United, making a club-record 963 appearances between 1991 and 2014. He spent four games as United interim manager after David Moyes was sacked in 2014 and two years as Van Gaal’s assistant. The 44-year-old left United when Mourinho was appointed in 2016. Giggs would be a popular appointment with many fans keen to reconnect with its traditions. But questions would be asked whether he has enough experience to do the job, despite the bright start he has made with Wales.
In case you missed it on Sunday, this is how José Mourinho assessed the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool – his last game in charge of Manchester United:
“Caption this,” said Paul Pogba on Instagram this morning – a post he has now deleted.
Here’s what Gary Neville makes of the decision:
“The moment earlier on in the season where it was clear the board decided that they didn’t want to back a couple of José Mourinho’s signings, at that point you are finished as a manager. In the summer the club wanted to sign one or two centre-backs. Those centre-backs were identified and the club obviously have the ability and the right to say no to those signings if they don’t feel it’s right, but you have to understand the consequence. That once you undermine a manager or don’t agree with his signings and you’re going against them – maybe for the right reasons from a club point of view – but if you’re a manager, particularly of the sort of stature of José Mourinho, you’re on a collision course. What we’ve seen over the last three or four months is it play out in public.”
So, who should take over? In their statement, the club said: “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.” Michael Carrick has taken charge of training today at Carrington but the club are expected to bring in a caretaker manager within the next 48 hours.
David Squires yesterday...
David Squires today...
What a way to go for Mourinho: after losing meekly to the club’s biggest rivals at Anfield. Liverpool had 36 shots in that game, dominated the ball throughout and only conceded due to a goalkeeping error. As Barney Ronay put it on Sunday afternoon: “This was beyond dire – dire squared, dire football played in dire fashion by a dire selection. Imagine a bad plan, enacted badly, by someone not very good at enacting bad plans. Imagine a negative approach, applied with extreme negativity by a group of players feeling negative about the actual merits of all this negativity. Why would anyone want to keep doing this?”
Manchester United have sacked José Mourinho following Sunday’s defeat at Liverpool, ending a tenure that began in May 2016.
A poor start to the Premier League season has seen United slip 19 points behind the leaders, Liverpool, and fall off the pace in the hunt for a top-four place. They have won only once in six league matches, drawing during that sequence with struggling Southampton and Crystal Palace.
The club issued a statement on Tuesday morning which 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.”