Jose Mourinho’s spokesman, Eladio Parames, firmly believes Manchester United’s problems are down to Ed Woodward and he should carry the can following the Portuguese manager’s dismissal.
Mourinho was sacked by United on Tuesday morning, two days on from the 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.
Their current haul of 26 points from 17 games is their lowest ever at this stage in a Premier League season.
United have announced fans’ favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their interim manager on Wednesday.
However, the fall-out over Mourinho’s dismissal by United, less than 12 months after he signed a lucrative new deal at Old Trafford, appears to have started in earnest after Parames delivered a savage criticism of the way the club is run.
“Here are two concrete examples of the fantastic work going on at Manchester United,” Parames wrote in his column for Portuguese publication Record.
“If (Marouane) Fellaini, who was at the end of his contract, had been renewed in proper time, he would not cost half of what he costs today.
“Mister Ed (Woodward) made him the third best-paid player in the entire squad.
“And the same is happening with (David) De Gea, whose contract could already have been renewed a year or two ago.
“But now, as his deal is at the end, if they want to continue with him they will have to pay a fortune.
“What beautiful management this is.”
The decision to sack Mourinho will be costly, but that figure pales into insignificance when it comes to the 11 players he was allowed to bring in at a cost of circa £400million.
Paul Pogba was the biggest acquisition during his tenure, signing in 2016 for a then world-record fee. Yet the World Cup-winning France midfielder has regressed under the Portuguese, who has left him on the bench in recent matches as their relationship became further strained.
Pogba posted on social media shortly after the announcement of Mourinho’s sacking, with a picture of himself with a quizzical expression and the words “Caption this”. The post was subsequently deleted and led to a barrage of criticism.
While player power is not believed to have had an impact in the decision to fire Mourinho, Pogba is one of a number of players who will be happy with the change at the helm.
The Portuguese has fallen out with a variety of players, while his strong criticism in public and within the dressing room is understood to have annoyed – and at times bemused – his team.
Mourinho left United’s training ground complex at Carrington in a car at around 12.25pm and was later seen leaving his home at the Lowry hotel, where he was met by cameras and asked how he was feeling. “OK, my friend,” Mourinho said, before posing for pictures.
While the sacking shocked the footballing world, talk of the manager’s impending departure appeared to be building in the United dressing room before the announcement.
Few are understood to be sad to see him leave, both in terms of the club’s players and staff, with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believed to be the main target to take the reins next summer.