LONDON – Jose Mourinho’s position as Manchester United manager is not under immediate threat, senior figures at the club have said, denying a report he was set to be sacked next week.
United are struggling in 10th place, and last week’s 3-1 loss to West Ham made it the club’s worst start to a league campaign in 29 years.
The Daily Mirror reported late on Friday that Mourinho would be dismissed regardless of the result of United’s match at home to Newcastle on Saturday (6.30pm SA time kickoff).
But senior figures at United told Press Association Sport that Mourinho would retain his job for the immediate future.
The agency reported that United look set to give Mourinho the upcoming international break to turn things around at Old Trafford.
Tuesday’s goalless Champions League draw against Valencia in the Champions League also meant the former Chelsea boss had gone four home matches without a win for the first time in his managerial career.
In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Mourinho accepted that the performance was not good enough.
“We are better than this and because we are better than this, our situation is going to improve. I have no doubts about that,” he said.
Eyebrows were raised when the press conference, called for the unusually early time of 8am (9am SA time), lasted a mere eight minutes and 29 seconds.
Mourinho claimed United had overachieved in finishing second last season, 19 points behind champions Manchester City, and said he always expected this campaign to be more difficult.
“I think opponents with much more potential than us finished behind us,” he said.
“That is the reason why it was a phenomenal season.”
United became a byword for managerial stability during Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden 26-and-a-half years in charge.
But were Mourinho to be dismissed, it would mean United had got through three full-time managers, plus club great Ryan Giggs’ spell as caretaker, in the five years since the legendary Scottish boss retired in 2013.
That has been a period that has coincided with the club failing to win either the Premier League or Europe’s Champions League.
"We are better than this and, because we are better than this, our situation will improve. I have no doubts about that." #MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 5, 2018