Graeme Souness believes Jose Mourinho is in a deeply precarious position at Manchester United, noting he was in danger of losing the dressing room following defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Portuguese saw his defence fall apart in the face of Brighton’s physicality in the first half, conceding twice in as many minutes and going in 3-1 down at the break.
His side’s response in the second period was arguably more depressing, with Man United managing just two shots: a long range effort from Paul Pogba and a converted penalty from the Frenchman with seconds remaining.
Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, Souness noted how the boss was at serious threat of losing the dressing room.
“He is in a very difficult place, isn’t he? We think he fell out with the Chelsea players and that ultimately cost him his job,” he said.
“As a manager, you have to push them and push them to the point where you are almost falling out with them but you cannot cross that line otherwise you end up falling out with two or three of the top men and they can get you out of the door.
“Two or three becomes six or seven and six or seven becomes 12 or 13. Then all of a sudden, that old chestnut is leaked to the press that he has lost the dressing room. So I think he is in a very precarious position right now if that is what they can give us on a football pitch.”
The relationship between manager and player can be often overstated in the media. It is possible for the two groups to interact – or even like each other – very little and remain functional. Think of managers like Antonio Conte or Manuel Pellegrini: hardly gregarious folks yet they got the job done.
But one thing is for sure: if United’s performances continue to mirror what we saw against Brighton, there is no question senior figures in the dressing room will start to pipe up. And that, no doubt, will constitute the beginning of the end for Mourinho.