Wednesday 19 December 2018

Manchester United continue to back Jose Mourinho as a swirl of rumours engulf the Old Trafford club

Jose Mourinho is not facing the immediate threat of being sacked, according to Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)
Jose Mourinho is not facing the immediate threat of being sacked, according to Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jose Mourinho retains the backing of the Manchester United hierarchy after they dismissed a report claiming a decision had been made to sack the Portuguese manager.

The Daily Mirror reported on Friday night that Mourinho would be sacked regardless of the result of Saturday's Premier League game against Newcastle.

That story sparked a furious reactions from United legend Gary Neville, who told Sky Sports that the hierarchy at the club needed to be changed as he claimed persistent leaks from Old Trafford insiders were undermining a succession of the club's managers.

Yet United made it clear on Saturday morning that Mourinho's position is not under imminent threat, as they insisted no decision has been made over his long-term future.

They also suggested the Daily Mirror report was 'nonsense', in what may be viewed as a vote of confidence in the beleaguered United boss.

Mourinho stages a brief press conference on Friday morning, as he appeared to be uncomfortable facing media questions after several days of speculation over his future at the club.

Yet in an embargoed section of the press conference that was released on Friday night, he was a little more open in his eagerness to continue in the role.

"I think we have enough potential to do better than what we are doing in the Premier League," he said. "We are better than this and, because we are better than this, our situation is going to improve. I have no doubts about that.

"This team can do much better than what it's doing and the team will do much better than what it's doing, but if you want me to repeat, I repeat. I told you last season was a fantastic season for us and if you want something more, in pre-season I also said that this season was going to be very difficult.

"Because success has a direct relation with your own potential and has a direct relation with the potential of your opponents and the last season was phenomenal, exactly because of these two factors. I think opponents with much more potential than us finished behind us. That's the reason why it was a phenomenal season.

"With all the respect, and I hope they don't interpret me in a negative way, if we are playing in a league like the Swiss league and we don't win that league, anything else apart from winning that league would be an awful season.

"In this season with the potential of our direct opposition, last season to finish second was a fantastic season for us."

There are suggestions that senior United officials met with representatives of Mourinho in London on Friday to discuss the crisis, with the manager backed to turn around the club's fortunes after their worst start to a season in 29-years.

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