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Manchester United sack Mourinho after loss against Liverpool, abysmal start to season

Paul Ellis, AFP | Then Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 16, 2018.

Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho with immediate effect after 17 matches following a dismal start to the season, the Premier League side announced on Tuesday.

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The Red Devils lost 3-1 against arch rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday and are 19 points adrift of the leaders and a clear 11 points away from a critical final Champions League qualifying spot.

Mourinho reportedly cried when he heard he had not been chosen as the heir to Alex Ferguson's throne at United.

Inevitable departure

He did little to help himself, particularly in a short-lived third season, which has become an unwanted hallmark of his managerial career. Mourinho fell out with senior squad members, blamed his superiors for a lack of backing in the transfer market and oversaw a drastic deterioration in performances and results on the pitch.

The seeds of disharmony were also sown last season. Mourinho routinely dropped the club's most expensive ever signing, £89 million ($113 million) midfielder Paul Pogba, to start a power struggle he ultimately lost.

Pogba sat on the bench for the full 90 minutes at Anfield on Sunday and has not started any of United's past three league games.

United said in a statement, "Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect.

"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."

Dressing room disillusionment

Mourinho's departure from Old Trafford came a day after the third anniversary of his sacking from a second spell at Chelsea just six months after winning the title with the Blues.

For the first time since leaving provincial Portuguese side Uniao de Leiria for local giants Porto in 2002, Mourinho leaves a club having failed to win a league title.

He did deliver silverware, winning the League Cup and Europa League in his debut season, and even claiming the Community Shield, a glorified friendly curtain-raiser to the season, as a hat-trick of trophies.

Mourinho won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan -- not quite world-class teams -- three Premier League titles with Chelsea and one La Liga title with Real Madrid. But at Old Trafford, the siege mentality and "park the bus" tactics that brought results at those clubs led only to bad results and disillusionment in the dressing room.

Unpopular with fans

The Manchester Evening News quotes former player Paul Ince, who claims some of the team’s players tried to get Mourinho sacked.

“I’ve been there, players start forming cliques, in the hope of getting their manager
sacked and that’s what we’re seeing now at Old Trafford,” Ince reportedly stated.

Mourinho's cautious style clashed with the 20-time English champions' tradition of attacking football and he also rapidly became unpopular with fans

Even more galling for United fans was seeing fierce rivals City and Liverpool under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp marrying success with entertaining football.

"The most important job of football is entertaining the people because it is only football and nothing else," said Klopp earlier this season on his personal duel with Guardiola.

Man United's next fixture is against Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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