- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Manchester United have confirmed the departure of manager Jose Mourinho after the club's stuttering run of form led to their worst-ever start to a Premier League season.
It is understood Michael Carrick will look after affairs before the club appoint an external candidate in the next 24 to 48 hours to take charge on a caretaker basis for the rest of the season.
READ MORE: Mourinho axed: Where next for Man Utd boss?
READ MORE: Neville urges Man Utd to move for Pochettino
A statement from the club said: "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.
Mourinho's relationship with key members of his playing squad appeared to have disintegrated this season, with a public training-ground face-off with Paul Pogba and club captain Antonio Valencia being forced to apologise for 'liking' an Instagram post calling for Mourinho to be sacked.
The former Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid manager had hoped to stay at United for 15 years, but he has lasted little more than two.
Mourinho leaves United in sixth place in the table and 19 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool.
The Portuguese's final match in charge was a 3-1 loss against United's arch rivals at Anfield on Sunday.
United's next league fixture is away to Cardiff on Saturday evening.
Jose's departure has unsurprisingly caused plenty of reaction from our readers with the majority of United fans in favour of change.
There are exceptions, mind.
@Ali Parker writes:
''Mourinho has won 3 trophies in 2 and a half years at Old Trafford. On average, this makes him the most successful Manchester Utd manager of all time.
''Bring Back the The Special One.''
Liverpool fan @Paul Atkinson, meanwhile, is 'sorry' United have finally come to their senses.
''I’m a life long Liverpool fan. I’m sorry Utd have finally seen what the rest of us have known for ages. Since Ferguson retired Utd have gone backwards. Under Mourinho they have fallen behind even faster.''
Rio's considered reaction
'United need bigger changes than sacking Mourinho'
Our chief sports writer, Paul Hayward, says United will have to do more than just dismiss Jose Mourinho if they want their identity back.
In their glory years, United were a spectacle, a treat for the eyes, a grand parade that was ultimately about the football, the drama: a point Sir Alex Ferguson was always keen to impress on David Beckham when he became famous far beyond Old Trafford. United were a hive of energy and enthusiasm. They were a cult. They always laid on a show. That restlessness and showmanship were the beacon in a metropolis now dominated by Manchester City.
And now, you watch United because you have to, or you support the opposing club, or for schadenfreude. You lurch away from the television screen mystified, listless, asking how you could have spent those two hours more productively. You see demoralised players with no pattern of play or conviction. Marouane Fellaini tries a shot and knocks a steward in a high-viz jacket off his stool – by the corner flag. United are feeble, aimless, going through the motions while the rest of the elite disappear over the hill.
Poch speaks - 'I cannot answer this type of question because rumours happen'
"I want to send my best wishes to him (Jose). I have a good relationship with him. He's a good friend. It's sad news what happened today.
"It's not my business what happens at another club but I want to send my best wishes to him.
"After nearly five years there is a lot of rumours about my position as manager at Tottenham. I cannot answer this type of question because rumours happen. But it's not my business what happens now. I'm focused on delivering the best for this (Spurs) football club."
Mauricio Pochettino to speak to media
The news agenda for Spurs' press conference this lunchtime will be tweaked given today's development at Old Trafford.
Pochettino is one of the leading contenders to become United's next permanent manager and is due to speak to the gathered media ahead of Tottenham's meaty League Cup quarter-final with Arsenal tomorrow night.
The Argentine will no doubt be grilled on what this means for his future. Gary Neville has already thrown his support around Poch becoming United's next manager.
"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."
Chelsea reaction to Mourinho exit
Chelsea's assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has been on media duty ahead of the club's League Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth tomorrow night.
Zola has offered his words of support to the Stamford Bridge club's former boss.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to become caretaker manager?
Former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a leading candidate to become caretaker manager until the end of the season, according to our chief football writer Sam Wallace.
Solskjaer is currently manager of Molde in Norway, where he is in his second spell in charge and were he to come back to United then his first game in charge would be against former club Cardiff City.
The 45-year-old had a lacklustre eight months at Cardiff in 2014 where he was unsuccessful in his attempts to save the club from relegation to the Championship and was sacked in September.
Solskjaer signed a new contract this month at Molde until December 2021 having finished in second place for the second successive year this season.
Jose's highs and lows at Old Trafford
From the highs of winning the Community Shield (yes) at the start of his tenure to defeat to Bristol City in the League Cup. We chart the ups and downs of Jose's time in the red half of Manchester.
Vote in our poll
Quite simply, who should become United's next permanent manager?
Patrice Evra: Let's move on from playground antics
Former Man Utd left-back Patrice Evra wants fans and commentators to stop looking at the childish behaviour of Pogba and Mourinho and for people to come together for the good of the club.
Evra, who made 273 appearances for United between 2006 and 2014, tweeted:
Neville's response to Pogba's deleted post
What now for Mourinho?
Well apart from having a nice Christmas break (again), Mourinho's relentless agent Jorge Mendes is likely to put the feelers out to suitors in the new year to line up a fresh gig in no doubt cosy surroundings.
His stock may well have fallen since his heady days of winning league and European titles but the Portuguese remains a big draw - if not for the commercial boost he can provide.
Mourinho showed that he's not adverse to returning to former pastures when he was appointed Chelsea coach for a second stint. So could a switch back to Italy and Inter be on the cards?
Inter are currently third in Serie A 14 points off leaders Juve. Or how about a change in tact and pace by taking over Portugal? It might suit the downtrodden Mourinho to switch to international management.
Mourinho stats - better than Van Gaal and Moyes
Mourinho leaves Old Trafford with a 41.7 win percentage this campaign - his second lowest mark after his dire 36 win percentage that led to his departure at Chelsea three years ago.
Overall, the Portuguese won 84 of his 144 games in charge at United, losing 28 for a win percentage of 58.3 in all competitions.
His record is better than that of Louis van Gaal (51.3 per cent), Ryan Giggs (50 per cent) and David Moyes (50 per cent) but unsurprisingly less that Sir Alex Ferguson (65.2 per cent). But then Fergie did manage 1,356 more Premier League matches at United than Mourinho.
Mourinho's tenure was doomed from day one
Some essential reading on Mourinho's exit from Jason Burt. Here's a snippet.
It went wrong from day one. Manchester United's squad was not good enough, the stadium was not good enough, the training ground was not good enough.
Jose Mourinho took people aback at the club with the extent of his criticism. After all being manager at Old Trafford was a job he had lobbied for extremely hard in 2016 and although there were problems, issues, things to be addressed – was it really that bad?
Pogba reacts to Jose's departure?
A penny for Paul Pogba's thoughts right now? Well it could just be a coincidence that this instagram post and subsequent tweet went out the same time as news of Mourinho's departure broke. Interesting.
Both posts have since been deleted.
Deja vu for Mourinho
Mourinho has suffered the axe before Christmas as recent as three years ago when his second spell at Chelsea was terminated on Dec 17.
On that occasion, Mourinho was sacked seven months after winning the Premier League title. His Chelsea side won the title by eight points and clinched the League Cup.
Roll on three years and Jose departs his Old Trafford role seven months after leading United to second spot in the league and the FA Cup final.
Who will replace Mourinho on permanent basis?
While the identity of the external candidate who will replace Mourinho for the rest of the season remains unclear, who will take charge of the club on a long-term basis?
Zinedine Zidane remains the front-runner at 10/11 while former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and ex-Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger are also in the running. Here are the runners and riders and latest odds.
Graeme Souness: I'm not surprised
"The writing has been on the wall for the last few weeks. He would have known this was coming.
"He (Jose) can't have any complaints. I said on Sunday that I couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel for them.
"At Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago, I saw a man who didn't want to be there. That's been the case for a while there.
External candidate to become caretaker manager
More developments from Old Trafford, our chief football correspondent, Jason Burt has the latest...
Neither Michael Carrick nor Nicky Butt will take charge of Manchester United to the end of the season following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
It is understood that United will appoint an external candidate as their caretaker manager within the next 24-48 hours and he will be in the dug-out for Saturday’s match away to Cardiff City.
United will take the rest of the campaign to identify and hire their next manager with the clear remit of fitting into a long-term approach. The outstanding candidate is believed to be Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino although he signed a new contract with the club earlier this year.
It is understood that neither Carrick, who has been working as Mourinho’s assistant, nor Butt are believed to have the necessary experience to take charge of United.
Gary Neville's reaction: Seven years of poor decisions
Man Utd have been crawling along on their hands and knees for the last few months. You could see on the pitch how (Jose's) been impacting players, the sacking of Jose is a result of what happened in the summer and the manager not getting his transfer targets. There have been seven years of poor recruitment and poor decisions. The recruitment has been erratic. They've had three failed managerial appointments. They need a reset, in terms of recruitment and in terms of the football club and in terms of what they do next is the right move. That's about making sure the next manager is the right manager. They have to make sure they put the right footballing structure in place.
Will Carrick take charge for rest of season?
With Jose Mourinho departing and United revealing that a caretaker will be installed until the end of the season, the front-runner to take over the reins is Michael Carrick.
Carrick was in attendance last night as United's youth side defeated FA Youth Cup champions Chelsea in the third round.
Carrick was appointed as Mourinho's right-hand man this season after hanging up his boots at the end of the last campaign.
The 37-year-old is a popular figure at United and enjoys a strong rapport with his former team-mates.