The weather may be hot but that’s not the reason for what the press are describing as Jose Mourinho’s meltdown.
The behaviour of the Manchester United manager on the club’s pre-season tour to the US has left his board “hugely concerned”, reports the Daily Mirror. The paper says that Mourinho’s “spectacular US tour meltdown is affecting his Manchester United players”.
It’s alleged that the squad were unsettled by remarks made by Mourinho to MUTV in which he criticised Anthony Martial for not rejoining the team after he left to be present at the birth of his second child. He also had a swipe at Antonio Valencia wondering if “maybe he has enjoyed too much holiday, his condition was not good when he was back”.
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Under severe strain
The Mirror says that the board were also aghast at the comments but they were broadcast “before they could be vetoed”.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has become increasingly concerned about “the negative tone” set by Mourinho. The club’s new Premier League season starts on Friday 10 August against Leicester and he fears the players are being infected by their manager’s defeatism.
Mourinho has been particularly scathing about the lack of activity in the transfer market over the summer and this has given his squad the impression that they don’t have their manager’s faith.
The Daily Telegraph says the relationship between Mourinho and his players (and also that of Woodward) is under “severe strain”, leading to the paper describing United as “dysfunctional”.
With the club facing an awkward start to their league campaign, with games against Leicester (home), Brighton (away) and Tottenham (home), the fear is that a couple of defeats could send Mourinho ballistic.
Portuguese man o’ war
The Daily Express says the worry for United is that the pre-season discontent has shades of what happened at Chelsea 12 months ago when Antonio Conte had a series of run-ins with his players and board.
The result was a league campaign that never got going, and led, ultimately, to the dismissal of Conte at the end of the season. “The Portuguese man o’ war has cut such an angry and frustrated figure that players, staff and officials are said to be on edge around him,” says the paper.
Having failed to win a trophy last season, United must come up with some silverware this time around, preferably the Premier League title, which they haven’t won since 2013. But the Express says there’s not a lot of optimism at United ahead of the new campaign.
“Another defeat to Champions League winners Real Madrid in their final tour game in Miami in the early hours of Wednesday morning will no doubt further darken Mourinho’s mood,” adds the paper.
First for the chop?
With Mourinho in meltdown mode, according to The Sun, the United boss is the bookies’ favourite to be the season’s first managerial casualty with odds of 5/1 that he will leave “before Christmas and 10/11 to pack his bags before the end of the season”.
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