Jose Mourinho came under fire from Manchester United legends after his side’s dismal display in a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool that underlined just how far they have fallen.
Celebrates with Liverpool’s Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (L) and Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (C) after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 16, 2018.
Mourinho’s side were out-classed by Liverpool as Xherdan Shaqiri’s late double killed off United at Anfield.
United were fortunate to be level when Jesse Lingard cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener, but Mourinho’s team paid the price for another disjointed performance that left them languishing 19 points behind table-topping Liverpool.
With United trailing fourth placed Chelsea by 11 points, Mourinho heads into the hectic Christmas period facing fresh calls for his dismissal.
The former Chelsea boss has overseen United’s worst Premier League start after 17 games amid reports of numerous rifts with key players including French World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez.
Gary Neville, who won eight Premier League titles as a United defender in the Alex Ferguson era, admitted Liverpool are so far ahead of his old club now that questions must be asked about Mourinho’s job security.
“Liverpool are streets ahead. Streets. Not one of the United midfielders can pass a football. Not one of them,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I find it staggering. United were awful. They were hanging in there for a bit but the only real team who were going to win the game was Liverpool. It’s not good enough.”
– ‘Out of control’ –
Asked if Mourinho should part ways with United, Neville questioned the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was criticised by Mourinho in the close-season for failing to land his transfer targets.
“Will Mourinho leave? I think it will happen, my preference would always be to get to the end of the season. But the board room is so naive it’s unbelievable,” Neville said.
“To give him an extended contract, knowing his cycle of every three years, was incredible. The minute he came back from pre-season he was at it and the club was out of control.
“Nobody above him can handle him. They don’t know what to do with him, they don’t know what to say to him. They don’t know what he’s going to say at every press conference. It will cost a fortune to lose him now.”
Roy Keane, working as a pundit for Sky Sports, was equally scathing of United’s limp effort in a grudge match that always drew the best from the tough-tackling former Manchester United captain in his playing days.
Keane accused Mourinho of assembling a team that is a pale intimation of the club’s glory days.
“If you came down from the moon today and knew nothing about football you’d say United are an average Premier League side. Nothing more. They are Manchester United of the 1980s, they can be a decent cup team,” he said.
“I did fear the worst today and it could have been a lot more. Towards the end Liverpool just toyed with them. United were not at the races.
“I certainly believe a lot of the players playing for United today are not good enough for Manchester United.”
Pogba was an unused substitute and Keane sees no future at Old Trafford for the France midfielder, who has already quit United once before to join Juventus.
“Paul Pogba’s days are numbered, they won’t sell him in January but he’ll move on. It’s no big deal, he’s left United before,” he added.