Manchester United has fired Jose Mourinho following the club’s worst ever Premier League start.
The club currently languishes in sixth place in the league, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool after Sunday’s insipid 3-1 defeat at Anfield.
A temporary caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season while the club searches for his successor.
“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 statement said.
Mourinho had been in charge at Old Trafford for two and a half years, winning the Europa League and League Cup in his first season at the club.
But United’s tally of 26 points after 17 games is its worst at this stage since the 1990-91 season, before the inception of the Premier League.
Mourinho’s future had been under severe scrutiny after several dismal performances, despite signing a 12-month contract extension less than a year ago.
United has won just once in its previous six Premier League matches, including draws against struggling Southampton and Crystal Palace.
The 55-year-old has been involved in several public spats with players during his tenure, most notably with Paul Pogba who Mourinho has singled out for criticism on several occasions this season.
Their tense relationship came to a head in September when the pair were filmed arguing during an open training session.
Pogba, a key member of France’s World Cup winning squad, was left on the bench for United’s defeat to Liverpool.
Following the 2-2 draw to Southampton earlier this month, it was widely reported Mourinho had called Pogba a “virus” in the squad.
Third season syndrome
Mourinho’s sacking means his record of never completing four seasons at a football club continues.
Only once has the Portuguese coach made it into a fourth campaign — during his first stint in charge of Chelsea — but he left halfway through the season.
Despite his immense success throughout a long career, Mourinho has always struggled in the third season at clubs he has managed.
Two trophies in his first season in Manchester were followed by a second place finish in the Premier League a year later, but this season the team has stagnated.
Reports suggested Mourinho was never settled in the city and decided to spend his two and a half years there renting a room in the five-star Lowry Hotel, rather than buy a house in the area.
United, valued by Forbes as the world’s most valuable football club at $4.1 billion, has seen its share price plummet 34% since August.
As well as poor results, Mourinho has been forced to defend his side’s style of football which is considered too defensive and lethargic, and not akin to United’s historic attacking philosophy.
However, one silver lining in a torrid season has been the team’s qualification for the Champions League last 16, which included a stoppage time victory against Juventus in Turin.
United did have the chance to finish top of Group H, but a woeful performance against Valencia consigned it to second place to set up a tricky clash against PSG.
Perhaps now, without Mourinho in charge, Manchester United fans won’t look ahead to their clash against the star-studded side with quite so much resignation.