Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United

Manchester United has called time on Jose Mourinho's Old Trafford reign, but where did it all go wrong for the Portuguese?

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho   -  Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's tumultuous Manchester United tenure came to an end on Tuesday as he finally paid the price for its flagging fortunes.

Sunday's 3-1 loss to Liverpool proved to be the final straw for the Old Trafford hierarchy, with the club sitting 11 points adrift of the top four. 

So, after two and half years in the job, where exactly did it all go wrong for the Portuguese?

Here, Omnisport takes a look at some of the key areas where the Special One lost his grip on power.



The missing flair in United's system irked the fans at Old Trafford.   -  Getty Images


United's indifferent form was not the only cause of unrest among the fans. Mourinho's preferred style of play also irked many, with United's performances characterised by a lack of intensity and creative flair.

For a fan base still clinging on to memories of the glory days under Alex Ferguson, the regular dose of negative, defensive tactics was hard to stomach.

Read: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose's biggest bust-ups

The weekend defeat at Anfield was a case in point – United had only six shots, two of which were on target, while Liverpool fired off 36 efforts. 


Jose Mourinho gives instructions to Eric Bailly   -  Getty Images


Mourinho was not exactly starved of financial backing but his signings generally failed to deliver.

The most high-profile recruit was Paul Pogba, a club-record signing from Juventus. Though evidently not short on quality, Pogba's lack of consistency was infuriating to many and he endured a turbulent relationship with Mourinho.

The Portuguese's first acquisition, Eric Bailly, encapsulates much about Mourinho's tenure – patches of promise, spells of underwhelming form, and ultimately a sense of coming up short. 

A similar story has played out with forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan failed to last the entirety of Mourinho's tenure having only arrived at the club in July 2016.


The strained relationship between Luke Shaw and Jose Mourinho was the beginning of a series of bust-ups with his team.   -  Getty Images


One thing that is likely to have put a strain on Mourinho's relationship with the squad was his propensity to criticise them in public. 

Mourinho rarely shouldered the blame for anything and frequently spoke in unflattering terms about certain players, with Luke Shaw and Pogba among his targets.

Also Read: What former United players said after Liverpool loss

After a 1-1 draw with Everton last year, Mourinho claimed that he "made every decision" for full-back Shaw, while in September he clashed with midfielder Pogba in a training-ground incident that was caught on camera.


Jose Mourinho's press conference after the defeat to Tottenham was brief.   -  Getty Images


Amid United's struggles, Mourinho was always going to have to field some tough questions and he adopted a combative approach with the media. 

Never was this more apparent than after the 3-0 home loss to Tottenham in August, when an evidently tetchy Mourinho's simmering anger finally boiled over. 

In a now infamous rant, Mourinho reminded the world of his three Premier League title wins – more at the time than the other 19 top-flight managers combined – and repeatedly demanded "respect" as he stormed out.


Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool's win over Manchester United   -  Getty Images


The Red Devils' toils have been made to look all the worse when contrasted with their two biggest rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool. 

While Pep Guardiola has expedited City's transformation into perennial Premier League title contender, Jurgen Klopp has also been working his magic at Anfield. 

It is bad enough for United fans to contemplate finishing outside the top four, but to be so far behind those two clubs makes it harder still to cope with.

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