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Will Mourinho uncertainty unsettle Manchester United ahead of new campaign?

Before a ball has even been kicked in the 2018/19 Premier League season, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been installed as 5/1 favourite to be the first boss to leave their post.

This is remarkable, considering Leicester City’s Claude Puel and Watford’s Javi Gracia were both under huge pressure last season and Rafa Benitez is reportedly unhappy at Newcastle United. And then we have the return of Neil Warnock, who has never really got to grips with top-flight management. So, why has Mourinho been cast as the most likely to fall first this time around?

Third season syndrome

There are a few reasons. First, the Portuguese boss has rarely made it beyond three seasons at a club in his career. He managed it in his first stint at Chelsea but was gone within a few weeks of the next campaign. Even when he has been hugely successful, he has either quit or been removed without completing a third term.

There was a hope that things would be different at United. The Old Trafford job has always been regarded as a destination job for top managers, a position to aspire to and one that offers long-term stability to the right man. But since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, the clubs have struggled to find that man.

Second, Mourinho has also been unhappy with the dealings of the board with his relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward thought to be at an all-time low. His disgruntled attitude in recent press conferences has prompted some to suggest that the boss wants out but is waiting to be pushed rather than walk. And the fact that he is still living in a hotel in the city also suggests that he has never seen his long-term future at the club.

Now, there is a feeling that all these factors are coming to a head and Mourinho is on a collision course with the club’s executives. This is a situation that will not help the Red Devils title challenge. The club is currently 7/1 with William Hill to win the league, behind their city rivals and Liverpool.

Possible replacements

It has now been five seasons without a title for the Old Trafford club, a situation that would have been inconceivable to many when Ferguson announced his retirement in 2013. Between 1993 and 2013, the club never went more than three years without winning the title.

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Another change of manager is the last thing the club needs if it is to get back to the summit of English football. However, persevering with a man who doesn’t want to be there could be equally, if not more, damaging. And with rumours that Zinedine Zidane is being considered as a potential replacement, the club might decide to act sooner or later if the negativity continues to build.

Other names to be linked to the top job in Manchester include Antonio Conte, Ryan Giggs, and Mauricio Pochettino. With the new season fast approaching, the club needs stability to mount a title challenge.

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