Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho again pointed the finger at his players’ failings rather than his own shortcomings after a 0-0 Champions League draw with Valencia that did little to lift spirits at Old Trafford.
Mourinho has now failed to win in four consecutive home matches for the first time in his career following defeat to Tottenham, a draw against newly promoted Wolves and a League Cup exit on penalties to second division Derby.
Already nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City and Liverpool, it now appears a question of when and not if Mourinho goes, with an unhappy squad now mirrored by disgruntled fans and outspoken former players.
The home faithful implored their side to “attack, attack, attack” in the second half of Tuesday’s stalemate.
READ ALSO: Champions League: Liverpool fan injured after Naples attack
But unlike the old days under Alex Ferguson, there was no late onslaught on the Valencia goal as the Spaniards, who have won just one game in nine themselves this season, comfortably held out for a point.
“We don’t have the technical quality to build from the back,” said Mourinho of United’s often route one football.
“We knew we wouldn’t create 20 chances. Our attacking players aren’t in their best moments of confidence and individual level.”
As some of Ferguson’s most famous pupils watched on, it was another 90 minutes that showed how far United have fallen since the class of ’92 made their mark by going for the throat of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus among others on thrilling European nights at Old Trafford.
– ‘Embarrassing the club’ –
David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt were in attendance, while Paul Scholes was scathing of Mourinho even before the match started following a dire 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Saturday.
“I think his mouth is probably out of control and I think he’s embarrassing the club,” said Scholes, who also expressed his surprise that Mourinho is still in charge.
For how much longer will depend on how long the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to let his bet on the Portuguese run before cutting his losses.
A failure to qualify for the Champions League is what forced Woodward’s hand in the past in firing David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. Mourinho’s contract with United runs until 2020, meaning sacking the Portuguese would mean a significant payout.
United already sit five points off the top four after seven games and have daunting trips to Chelsea and Manchester City to come in two of their next five Premier League games as well as two Champions League clashes with Juventus.
Mourinho has at least got the three-time European champions back on the Champions League stage by winning the Europa League in his first campaign and finishing second to City in the Premier League last season.
He has cited both achievements in the past few days in defence of his record in just over two years in charge, but increasingly Mourinho is having to lean on his past glories to justify a future.
After a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham in August he called for more respect as a three-time Premier League winner.
However two of those titles came more than a decade ago, with Chelsea in an era when United really were the benchmark.
Now, like their manger, they are a club longing for days gone by.
Latest Nigeria News
- AC Milan lose to Olympiakos, will miss out on Europa League knockouts
- Paris Saint-Germain-Dijon among five postponed matches in Ligue 1
- Power Rankings: Barcelona top, Liverpool climb; Juventus, Man City drop
- Youngster Eddie Nketiah impresses, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil return vs. Qarabag
- Hislop: Dembele's problems stem from childhood
- Europa League exit will pose trouble for Milan
- Shaka's Power Rankings: Barcelona claim top spot
- Extra Time: No love for PSG, refs against Milan, are horses athletes?
- Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka showed 'big personality' in full debut for Gunners
- Game-worn Diego Maradona shirts get ¬18,500 at auction
- Barcelona's Jordi Alba: No dressing room issues with Ousmane Dembele
- Man United supporters frustrated at present but can look to past for Anfield inspiration
- Exploding Heads: Sol Campbell is a genius
- Ex-Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli to join Brazilian club Santos
- Game-worn Diego Maradona shirts fetch ¬18,500 at auction
- Fantasy Premier League: Kane earns the armband
- Fantasy La Liga: Lionel Messi leads the line
- Nicol: Liverpool have enough to cover recent injuries
- Premier League Predictor: Showdown at Anfield
- FIFA president Gianni Infantino: Most federations favour 48-team World Cup in 2022
- Transfer Rater: Pochettino to Real Madrid? Pogba back to Juve?
- Sensational Giroud free kick earns Chelsea draw vs. Vidi in Europa League
- Liverpool to beat struggling Man United? Juventus to overcome Torino?
- Tottenham express 'great concern' at fan claims of mistreatment by Barcelona security
- Barcelona defender Gerard Pique linked with interest in buying FC Andorra
- Champions League XI: Mo Salah and Leroy Sane lead team of the week
- Thomas Muller's flying kick vs. Ajax was eerily accurate recreation of Bundesliga logo
- England FA CEO Martin Glenn to quit role at end of 2018-19 season
- Mourinho: Two players would make Man United team after Valencia loss
- Man United's lack of team spirit, Mourinho's negativity explains wide gap to rivals Liverpool
- Babbel: Wanderers can be giant killers
- Loftus-Cheek: Sterling right to speak out at racism
- Shaka Hislop explains why Zack Steffen chose Man City
- The pressure is on for France, Women's World Cup host
- Youthful Real Madrid beaten soundly by CSKA in group stage finale
- Columbus Crew SC interviews ex-Red Bulls GM Ali Curtis - sources
- Manchester United fall to Valencia, miss chance to win Champions League group
- Young Boys stun Juventus with brace from Guillaume Hoarau
- Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele apologised to team after being late to training - Carles Alena
- Man City win group as Sane double sinks Hoffenheim