Gary Neville launched a scathing assessment of Manchester United upon hearing of David McDonnell’s report for The Mirror claiming Jose Mourinho will be fired this weekend, even if the Red Devils beat Newcastle United on Saturday.
Mourinho has overseen a run of four matches without a win and United are currently nine points adrift of the Premier League’s summit. The Portuguese manager is also rumored to have fallen out with various members of his playing staff, and to share a tricky relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Neville began his monologue by admitting he was “furious” if Friday’s report is true, and stated his belief that it is instead those working above Mourinho who deserve scrutiny over their roles.
“If this is true and it has broken the day before it’s going to happen and he’s going to be sacked at the weekend, it’s an absolute disgrace,” Neville, who represented the club for 19 years, ranted on Sky Sports. “Where are the values and the principles of Manchester United if this is true?
“At the end of the day, this has been going on for five or six years. Jose Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world and I think at this moment in time any manager in the world would struggle at that football club with the way that the recruitment is handled, the way in which it is operated.
“Enough is enough for me. I absolutely love that football club, I absolutely love it to death. It’s been my life, it’s given me everything and I’m not turning on my football club.
“But I have to say something has to change and it isn’t the manager. It’s above that.
“I’m furious that a report has broken out. Journalists don’t break stories of this nature unless they are absolutely certain.”
McDonnell has previously broken big stories on Manchester United for The Mirror. He reported the Premier League giants were in discussions with Louis van Gaal regarding the manager’s job 10 days before David Moyes’ 2014 dismissal. Then, just over two years later, he was the first to reveal prior to the FA Cup final in 2016 that Van Gaal would be shown the door after the showpiece.
United are yet to comment on the latest report that Mourinho is set for the boot, suggestions that the manager and his agent Jorge Mendes met with Woodward on Friday, and why his press conference was held at 8 a.m. local time the same day, according to The Telegraph’s James Ducker.
“They (the board) undermined Jose on the eve of the season in explaining to journalists why he couldn’t sign those center-backs,” Neville continued. “Who is qualified in that football club to be able to tell Jose Mourinho that Toby Alderweireld or Harry Maguire or Jerome Boateng are not better than the center-backs they’ve got?
“There’s only two people I can think of and we know they weren’t consulted – Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I am reacting and maybe I am a little bit emotional, but I don’t really care anymore in respect of what I say. You could say it’s unprofessional, but I have to speak as a fan and say what I feel.”
He added: “The club knew what they were getting when they signed Jose Mourinho. He is cantankerous, he doesn’t back down from confrontation, and he will want teams that are ready to win now.
“They undermined him in the summer and you can’t undermine your manager, it’s as simple as that.”