Mourinho still has club’s backing, says United source

‘Barca higher level than Man Utd’ – Pochettino

A source at Manchester United says Jose Mourinho retains the full backing of the club’s board despite a troubled start to the season.

Mourinho drew widespread criticism not only for his attitude and demeanour during the pre-season but also Sunday’s 3-2 Premier League defeat at Brighton.

The Portuguese boss is now the favourite with the bookies to become the next Premier League manager to lose his job, with some suggesting that former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is being considered as a potential replacement.

But in response to that claim, a United source told BBC Sport: “Why would we discuss Zidane when there is no job?”

That hasn’t stopped several pundits from speculating about Mourinho’s future, however.

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright says there is “blood in the water” at Old Trafford.

“Ed Woodward’s unhappy, the manager’s unhappy, the players are unhappy and the fans are,” he said.

“Something is going to have to give somewhere along the line.

“If it carries on like this for Manchester United, I don’t care how much money they are making, they are going to slip way out of it.

“I cannot see any other outcome than unfortunately Jose Mourinho will probably lose his job if it carries on like it is.”

Former Chelsea forward Chris Sutton said it seemed like some players were no longer playing for their manager.

“There are big splits. They don’t seem committed to the manager or the cause,” he said.

“They are Manchester United in name only. The worst thing is it didn’t seem like a one-off yesterday, and it could happen time and time again.

“The fans are angry and fed up.”

One pundit coming to Mourinho’s defence was Gary Neville, who said that the club should have supported their manager more in the transfer window.

Mourinho was left disappointed by United’s activity in the summer, as he wanted additional cover in central defence and an alternative to Anthony Martial out wide.

But the United board felt there was no worthwhile signing available.

“The minute that he [Woodward] gave Jose Mourinho a contract extension – which some would say was unnecessary part way through a season – but believing in a manager, showing the faith, he had to then buy him the centre-backs,” said Neville.

“Irrespective of the manager, Manchester United need new centre-backs.

“My view is that Maguire and Alderweireld would have been good options. If they cost £120m to bring them in, then that’s what you have to do.

“My view would be that he’s got to stay until the very end of that contract and be backed until the end of that contract if you’re going to give a contract extension as the CEO of the club.

“At the moment, there is definitely an angst there between the club and the manager.

“Don’t get me wrong – the club has supported him. But you can’t three quarters build a house – you have to finish the job.

“United need serious football people to guide what they are doing.”