Man Utd sack Mourinho: reactions, caretaker options and next manager candidates

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Laurent Blanc, Mauricio Pochettino and Zinedine Zidane are in the frame

Jose Mourinho has been sacked as manager of Manchester United
Jose Mourinho has been sacked as manager of Manchester United
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images )

Manchester United have started their search for a new manager after Jose Mourinho was sacked this morning.

After 17 games the Red Devils are currently sixth in the Premier League table and 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, who they lost 3-1 to on Sunday.

The Anfield defeat left Mourinho’s position in the balance and the club confirmed that he has departed after two-and-a-half seasons in charge.

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During his tenure at Old Trafford the 55-year-old won the League Cup and the Uefa Europa League.

A United statement said: “The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future. A new caretaker-manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.��

Reactions to Mourinho’s sacking

Jamie Redknapp, Sky Sports: “Where do we start? I think, if you were looking to go to a club and do everything wrong, get sacked, you do what Jose Mourinho’s done. I don’t think Jose was the right manager for the style of play that United have had over the years, attacking football. Falling out with the board, falling out with his players, it’s been inevitable for me. Everything was wrong, the players weren’t trying for him.”

Graeme Souness, Sky Sports: “The writing has been on the wall for several weeks. No, don’t think so [Mourinho can have complaints] - with the money he has spent, how the players are playing at the present time. I saw at Bournemouth a man who didn’t want to be there.”

Patrice Evra, former United defender: “The thing that is annoying me the most right now is why are people so focused on @paulpogba and Jose Mourinho. Let’s focus on rebuilding something solid instead of being in a playground. Doing this is only disrespecting the badge, from now we only need positivity.”

Gary Lineker, football pundit: “With @ManUtd 19 points behind @LFC after 17 games, with the vast majority of players playing way below their best...and dour football to boot. Given Mourinho was allowed to spend hundreds of millions on those players the split seemed inevitable. Would imagine one of the main reasons for sacking Mourinho now would be to stop the attempted mass exodus of their best players next month.”

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport: “Jose Mourinho’s departure means there is no longer any hiding place for those Manchester United players who have performed so poorly this season - their shield has been removed. Mourinho has performed lamentably as Manchester United’s manager for some time now but so have many of star names. Everything about Mourinho’s selection, tactics and the performance of Manchester United’s players at Liverpool on Sunday screamed of a managerial reign nearing the end and a sign of just how bad things currently are at Old Trafford is that the club’s hierarchy have decided to end it so suddenly.”

What next for Manchester United?

External candidate to be caretaker boss

Sky Sports News reports that United will announce a caretaker within the next 48 hours and it will be an external appointment. Michael Carrick and Kieron McKenna will take training for the next couple of days.

Who will take over as caretaker?

United travel to Cardiff City on Saturday and they want the caretaker boss to be in charge for the Premier League clash.

The Daily Telegraph says that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a Champions League winner with United in 1999, is the leading candidate to become the temporary manager.

The Telegraph adds that Sir Alex Ferguson’s long-term former assistant Mike Phelan is set to make a “dramatic return” to work alongside Solskjaer, who is the current manager of Molde in Norway.

According to the Daily Mirror former United and France defender Laurent Blanc is a “strong name in the frame” for the caretaker role. However the BBC says that former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is not a candidate to become the caretaker.

Who will replace Mourinho long-term?

United’s long-term plan is to appoint a full-time manager in the summer and they will work alongside a new head of football, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Mirror Sport says Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is United’s No.1 candidate but according to The Daily Telegraph former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte are also in the frame.

Danny Mills told Sky Sports that England head coach Gareth Southgate should be considered. Mills said: “I’m not sure he’d want the job, I’m not sure they could get him. But surely he’d have to come into the reckoning if you’re Manchester United? If I was Manchester United, what would I want as my next permanent manager? Feel good factor, someone to bring through young players, somebody that plays in the right way, somebody that can connect and reconnect with the fans all over the world.”

Neville: Pochettino is ideal

Former United and England defender Gary Neville believes Spurs chief Pochettino should be the next full-time boss at Old Trafford. Neville told Sky Sports News: “I said last season that the next manager of Man Utd should be Pochettino. If I look at the values of United, you look at Pochettino’s belief in young players at Southampton and with Tottenham.

“You look at his performance levels and style of play, the way in which he carries himself at all times - publicly and in private - I have been fortunate enough to spend two or three days at Tottenham’s training ground. And for me, he just feels like the most ideal candidate.”

Next Man Utd manager betting odds

Prices according to Oddschecker (as of 18 December).

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 6/4
  • Laurent Blanc: 8/1
  • Zinedine Zidane: 10/1
  • Mauricio Pochettino: 22/1
  • Michael Carrick: 25/1
  • Arsene Wenger: 25/1
  • Ryan Giggs: 25/1
  • Leonardo Jardim: 33/1
  • Didier Deschamps: 33/1
  • Nicky Butt: 33/1
  • Antonio Conte: 33/1
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