Manchester United has sensationally sacked manager Jose Mourinho, just two days after English soccer’s biggest club reached a new low in its disappointing season by losing to Premier League rival Liverpool.
Assistant coach Michael Carrick will take charge of the team on an interim basis. United said it will appoint a caretaker manager until the end of the season, but didn’t say who it will be.
United sits in sixth place on the Premier League table, 19 points behind first-place Liverpool and 11 points off fourth-place Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification.
It is United’s worst 17-game start to a league campaign since the 1990-91 season, and the team currently has a goal difference of zero.
Mourinho started his two-year tenure at United by winning two titles in his first season – the English League Cup and the Europa League – but failed to win a trophy in his second season and was criticised for the team’s pragmatic playing style and his treatment of some players.
His relationship with Paul Pogba, the club’s record signing, appeared broken after leaving the France midfielder out of the team for its last three league games.
Mourinho had also been unhappy that United’s board failed to back his plan to sign a central defender in the offseason. United has already conceded more goals in the league than it did in all of last season.
Mourinho’s final match in charge was a 3-1 loss at Liverpool, after which he criticised his players as being brittle and unable to cope with the intensity and physicality of Liverpool – historically United’s biggest rival.
Mourinho lasted the same length of time at United as he did in his previous job at Chelsea, which also fired him just before Christmas in his third season.
He signed a new contract with United in January until June 2020 and will reportedly receive a 24-million pound ($42.18 million) payout.
In his six major coaching stints – at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea again and United – Mourinho has only lasted more than three years once. That was in his first spell at Chelsea.
United reached the last 16 in the Champions League, where it will play Paris Saint-Germain over two legs in February and March.