Despite the ending, Jose Mourinho has fond memories of the support he received from the stands at Old Trafford, and is now considering his next step. Photo: Jon Super/AP

Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United’s “weak” leadership allowed former players to undermine his attempts to restore the club to former glories.

Sources close to the Portuguese, whose two-and-a-half year tenure came to an end on Tuesday, also told Sportsmail that Mourinho has no intention of retiring from football and is already plotting his next move.

Mourinho feels let down by the Old Trafford top brass, and has suggested the club did not live up to his expectations after he agreed to replace Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2016.

As his reign headed towards its painful conclusion, the 55-year-old came under fire from former United players, including Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand.

Privately, Mourinho feels such criticism impacted on the dressing room and in the stands, making his task close to impossible.

There were other issues. Mourinho often hinted that he was unhappy with United’s transfer activity under executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

He was also surprised at the poor quality and efficiency of certain areas of the club’s operations.

Transport and hotels were not of the standard he had become used to elsewhere, and there was a feeling little was done to assist him in off-field matters.

A source explained: “Jose had the utmost respect for Sir Alex Ferguson and (former chief executive) David Gill. He saw them as real football people, with experience in the field and knowledge in the corridors of football and power.

“That is what he thought he was buying into when he took the job. He found that was not the case with those who currently run the club.

“He feels the weakness at the top allows former players to have a greater voice.

“If the club was stronger at the top, then their negative views would not have such an impact in the boardroom, dressing room or stands.”

Mourinho is “saddened but philosophical” about how things transpired at United.

He won the Europa League and League Cup in 2017 and guided them to second place behind Manchester City last season – an achievement he ranks among the finest of his trophy-laden career.

However, a season that seemed doomed from the off, following a miserable summer tour of the US, has seen United fall further behind rivals City and Liverpool.

Defeat at Anfield on Sunday – which left United 19 points off the top of the Premier League and 11 points away from the Champions League places – sealed his fate, with United insiders rejecting claims he had not been sufficiently backed in the transfer market.

Despite the ending, Mourinho has fond memories of the support he received from the stands at Old Trafford and is now considering his next step.

“He sees United as another part of his journey in football,” added the source.

“The biggest sadness is that they did not deliver for the fans, for whom he has huge respect.”

Daily Mail