MANCHESTER: Jose Mourinho's sacking as Manchester United's manager was inevitable, many fans and commentators said on Tuesday (Dec 18), as the club grapples with its worst start to a season in 28 years.
They played dull, defensive football, with the volatile Mourinho cutting an ever-angrier figure after each setback. Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool proved the final straw for United's owners.
On social media, sympathy for Mourinho was largely lacking following the Premier League club's announcement that it had parted ways with the Portuguese.
Former England football star and sports presenter Gary Lineker said that Mourinho's poor player transfer record made it "inevitable" that he would lose his job.
"Given Mourinho was allowed to spend hundreds of millions on those players the split seemed inevitable," he tweeted.
"Would imagine one of the main reasons for sacking Mourinho now would be to stop the attempted mass exodus of their best players next month."
Former England striker and former United player Michael Owen said: "Inevitable is the word I'd use. Mourinho had to go in the end. Simply not getting anywhere near enough out of his players."
Rio Ferdinand, who won the Premier League title with Manchester United in his first season at the club, said the time has come for fresh ideas at Old Trafford.
"Right now is the right time .. things aren’t improving and he has taken it as far as he can," said Ferdinand on Instagram.
"You can’t ignore what Jose has achieved as a manager previously but I feel the time has come for fresh ideas at #MUFC...!" he added.
"The club needs an injection of positivity & hopefully this decision will allow that to happen."
Commentator Jim Beglin tweeted: "Mourinho continued to deflect blame rather than accept some of the responsibility. United can remove the shackles of his chaotic control."
Mourinho's time at Manchester United was punctuated with several highly public spats in the boardroom and in the dressing room.
Reports said his exit was in part triggered by the breakdown of his relationship with France midfielder Paul Pogba, who did not even make an appearance as a substitute for Sunday's match with Liverpool.
Pogba took to Instagram just moments after news of Mourinho's sacking broke, posting a picture of himself smiling and writing "caption this" next to it.
While he showed promise when he first started out at Manchester United - winning the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League trophies in his first season - a tumultuous 2018/2019 season has left the club in danger of missing out on Champions League football.
They are currently sixth on the Premier League table, and have already conceded more goals than in the entire season before.
For fans who gorged on success during the great Alex Ferguson's 26-year reign, Mourinho's performance was just not acceptable.
"Mourinho’s gone. OMG it’s happened. We are free", wrote Twitter user Michael Poutney.
"I don’t ever want to hear his name mentioned. EVER Again. In fact take the seat he sat in. And burn it," tweeted another.
Others were more forgiving. Twitter user Harold Moyo said: "Farewell Jose, you will always be the best coach after Sir Alex!"
Liverpool fans' chants of “don’t sack Mourinho” must have made painful listening for the United board on Sunday.
So for the fourth time since Ferguson retired in 2013, the search is on for a new manager.
Whoever is chosen, United fans are hoping for better days ahead.
Said former United player Patrice Evra: "The thing that is annoying me the most right now is why are people so focused on Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho. Let's focus on rebuilding something solid instead of being in a playground. Doing this is only disrespecting the badge, from now we only need positivity."