A collection of Manchester United’s senior players have reportedly lost faith in manager Louis van Gaal and want the club to appoint Jose Mourinho, whose agent, Jorge Mendes, is said to have been contacted by Old Trafford officials.
While the Dutchman remains “well liked,” Ed Aarons and Jamie Jackson of the Guardian reported that in the wake of the team’s shock 2-1 loss to FC Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday, an “influential faction” of the squad has lost confidence.
“Although there is a recognition those on the field must take their share of responsibility for uneven form—Thursday’s loss followed the 2-1 reverse at Sunderland on Saturday—Mourinho is seen as the man who can return the club to winning ways,” Aarons and Jackson noted.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News reported United have been in touch with Mendes, with concerns over reports linking Mourinho to the Inter Milan job: “M.E.N. Sport understands United touched base with Mendes to ascertain whether Mourinho is seriously considering a return to management at Internazionale.”
Aarons and Jackson reported that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward “continues to deliberate over whether to sack Van Gaal,” although he is “conscious” Mourinho is likely to get offers from elsewhere while he remains a free agent. Indeed, Luckhurst noted the Portuguese will not “wait forever” for the job.
As we can see here, courtesy of BT Sport Football, although the Red Devils were abject for long spells against the Danish outfit, Van Gaal bemoaned poor fortune post-match:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
Murphy's Law? Louis van Gaal blames bad luck for @ManUtd's 2-1 defeat against Midtjylland. https://t.co/13ieSuCqKP2016-2-19 08:01:59
United will play Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup on Monday, when they will be seeking to salvage something from what has been a disappointing campaign; they’re fifth in the Premier League—six points behind local rivals Manchester City, who occupy fourth—and now also face a fight to make it into the last 16 of the Europa League.
With Mourinho available and seemingly willing to take on the job, many are surprised the Dutchman remains at Old Trafford.
As we can see here, courtesy of the Manchester Evening News’ United Twitter feed, the local press feel as though the time is right for the club to ax Van Gaal:
Man United News @ManUtdMEN
Our back page this morning #mufc https://t.co/H0MyHziBMv2016-2-19 08:33:44
The fans are fed up with the moribund football, the results are suffering and it seems as though key figures in the dressing room have finally given up on him, too. Regardless of whether Mourinho comes in now or at the end of the season, the time is right for Van Gaal to make way.
The prospect of working under the Portuguese is something that the players will understandably be keen on, given his track record of success and forming affinities with footballers. Whether he’s the right man in the long term is up for debate, but for the time being, Mourinho could give this illustrious football club the jolt it needs to compete at the top again.