Manchester United have sacked Jose Mourinho as manager with immediate effect after more than two and half years in charge.
The Premier League club, which sit in sixth place with 26 points – 19 less than league leaders Liverpool – said in a statement on Tuesday: “The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.”
“A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”
Mourinho had been tasked with bringing back the glory days to the 20-time English champions after three lean years since Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
But after more than two and a half years into his four-year contract, the club were facing their worst 17-game start to a league campaign since the 1990-91 season.
The 55-year-old was unhappy that United’s board failed to back his wish to sign a central defender in the offseason. United have already conceded more goals in the league than they did in the entire last season.
Shortly after Mourinho’s sacking, record signing Paul Pogba, who had been left of the team for the last three games, tweeted an image of himself with the text: “Caption this!”
The tweet has since been deleted.
Mourinho’s final match in charge was the 3-1 loss at Anfield, after which he said his players were brittle and couldn’t cope with the intensity and physicality of Liverpool, historically United’s biggest rival.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ lasted the same length of time at United as he did in his previous job at Chelsea, when he was also fired just before Christmas in his third season. He signed a new contract in January until June 2020 and will reportedly receive compensation of $30m.
In his six major coaching stints, he won the European Champions League with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2009. He also won two domestic titles with Porto, three at Chelsea, two with Inter and one at Real Madrid.
United have reached the last 16 in the Champions League, where they will play Paris Saint-Germain over two legs in February and March.