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18th Dec 2018

Details of how Jose Mourinho discovered he was losing Man United job

Patrick McCarry

Mourinho Woodward

Interestingly, the announcement of a contract extension and serious talks about another were the first moves Manchester United made to let Jose Mourinho know they were calling the shots.

Jose Mourinho has left Manchester United after two and a half years with the club. During his time at Old Trafford, he got a troubled club back into the Champions League and delivered three trophies (and a Community Shield) but they were never realistically in a title race.

Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Liverpool put them 11 points off fourth place and 19 off the league-leading Reds.

Ahead of the game United announced a contract extension for Chris Smalling. On Monday, news broke that Anthony Martial was close to signing an extension himself. Those decisions were made at the behest of chief executive Ed Woodward and must have been a signal to Mourinho that he was losing his grip on power.

The loss to Liverpool, and Mourinho claiming United would be doing well to finish sixth in the league – as well as his fall-outs with a number of senior players – were enough nudges for the club to drop the hammer.

Shortly after 9am this morning, Mourinho was driven into the club’s training complex at Carrington. He went straight to a meeting with Woodward and was told, face-to-face, that the club wanted him gone.

A short statement was then drafted and released to the world at 9:46am. Mourinho remained on at the complex for a couple of hours as he took in the news and said his goodbyes to key staff.

Jose Mourinho has left Manchester United

Had United waited until the team was eliminated in the Champions League – they face PSG in the last 16 – it may have saved them a few million but the flip side was their league position could further worsen if the damage was not staunched. As it turns out, the club will pay to pay £22.5m in compensation to the Portuguese.

Woodward, as chief executive, has made a number of poor footballing decisions since he took over the role from David Gill. Offering Mourinho a contract extension, last season until 2020 (with the option to extend until 2021) appears to be another in a long list of costly mis-steps.

The search is now underway for a replacement but, despite what the club may claim, that search started a couple of months back.

United are briefing certain press members and expect further details to leak about Mourinho’s unsteady hand at the tiller in the coming days. For some club legends, it is time to get positive and end the bickering.

There is a lot of work to be done.