Former players and rivals react to Jose Mourinho's sacking

Former players and rivals react to Jose Mourinho's sacking
Jose Mourinho leaves the Aon Training Complex in Manchester today. Pic: PA

As you would expect, today's dismissal of Jose Mourinho as Manchester United boss has prompted a lot of reaction.

The news comes two days after United's 3-1 Premier League defeat at Liverpool, which left them 19 points behind the table-topping Reds in sixth place, and 11 points off the top four.

Mourinho took charge at United, succeeding Louis van Gaal, in the summer of 2016 and they won the Europa League and League Cup in their first season under the Portuguese.

The Red Devils then finished second in the Premier League last term, before making a troubled start to this season, winning only seven of 17 league games and being knocked out of the League Cup at home by Championship club Derby.

Former United left-back Patrice Evra called for "positivity" in the wake of Mourinho's departure.

The Frenchman also admitted his frustration at how much attention is being given to the relationship between Mourinho and Pogba.

Evra wrote: "The thing that is annoying me the most right now is why are people so focused on @paulpogba 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. #ManUtd #MUFC"

Another former United defender, Rio Ferdinand, believed his departure was inevitable.

"I was one of his biggest advocates 2 & half years ago when he joined @ManUtd & felt he stabilised our club when we needed it.

"You can’t ignore what Jose has achieved as a manager previously but I feel the time has come for fresh ideas at #MUFC."

Former United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen says he can understand why the decision to part company with Mourinho was taken now.

The Dutchman, who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, told BBC Radio 5 live: "I think they've looked back critically to where they are and asked themselves, 'Is this the right way forward?', and with the transfer window right ahead of them, so I can understand the timing. "

Asked about Mourinho's relationship with his players and whether that could have been a potential factor in the Portuguese's departure, Meulensteen said: "It's difficult to have an opinion on that for people on the outside as we're not in the midst of it, but you can see how the team have performed and in our opinion some players have underperformed.

"You hear people talking about how United have lost their identity and that's what you see among the players. There is no really clear direction and certainly not after they'd been under Sir Alex Ferguson for so many years."

Andrew Cole, who scored 93 goals for United between 1995 and 2001, wrote on Twitter: "I would personally like to wish Jose all the best in the future... let's stay United as a club & keep the focus on the pitch until end of the season! @ManUtd."

Michael Owen, who played for United from 2009 to 2012, has joined the list of former players to tweet about Mourinho's departure.

"Inevitable is the word I'd use," Owen wrote. "Mourinho had to go in the end. Simply not getting anywhere near enough out of his players."

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who came close to signing for Mourinho's Chelsea during his Liverpool playing days, added: "It's big news but it's none of my business.

"He's obviously a world-class manager. He's been a rival for many, many years when I played.

"He's a winner, isn't he? I mean, how can I sit here and say anything about Jose Mourinho? He's a serial winner, he always has been everywhere he's gone. He's been sacked at United but he's won them a couple of trophies.

"He's done the best job since Alex Ferguson's left. It seemed they sort of struggled before that but Jose came in and put a couple of trophies in the cabinet, so I don't think you can criticise him too much.

"It will be interesting to see which direction they go in now with the new manager but none of the Manchester United fans will care what I say about it, so it's none of my business."

Jamie Carragher said he felt this moment had been coming since the summer.

"You have to go back to the start of the season, I thought it was inevitable Jose Mourinho wouldn't be the manager the following season," the former Liverpool defender said on Sky Sports News.

"There's been a lot of problems between him and the board and with his big-name players within the squad, there was a massive downturn in the relationship that was there for all to see.

"Taking the captaincy off Pogba, giving it to him in the first place, it all just looked like it was coming to an end and that was before a ball was even kicked."

Pochettino, one of the favourites for the job, refused to be drawn on the rumours linking him to the job but sent his best wishes to Mourinho.

"First of all I want to send my best wishes to him. I feel so sorry," he told a press conference to preview Spurs' Carabao Cup tie at Arsenal tomorrow.

"I have a very good relationship with Jose, he is a good friend, it is sad news. It is not my business what has happened in another club. I send my best wishes to Jose.

"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."

When asked for his thoughts at a pre-match press conference to preview Chelsea's Carabao Cup tie against Bournemouth, assistant manager Gianfranco Zola said: "Well, it's never pleasant to see a coach being dismissed from a job. It's not pleasant for anyone.

"Especially it's not pleasant for someone like Jose who has won so much in the game and so much for this club.

"Sad like many others. I want to wish him the best. I'm sure he will have more adventures.

"Nowadays getting the sack is part of the job, for everyone, from the small coaches to the big ones. Knowing the character and personality of Jose, I'm sure he'll want to bounce back."

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