Manchester United have sacked manager Jose Mourinho after Sunday’s defeat to Liverpool left them 19 points from the top of the Premier League.
The club made the decision to end the 55-year-old’s tenure amid growing discontent over his playing style and the atmosphere behind the scenes at Old Trafford.
Michael Carrick is due to take training on Tuesday, but United plan to name a caretaker manager from outside the club by the end of the week to see out the season, with a permanent appointment to follow in the summer.
Mourinho has had a reputation for difficult third seasons throughout his career, and his United spell has proved no different, with the season marked by high-profile clashes with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial alongside disappointing displays on the pitch.
Within an hour of United announcing Mourinho’s departure from the club, Pogba posted a cryptic message on Instagram apparently alluding to the news before swiftly deleting it.
Mourinho has complained about the club’s failure to sign a defender in the summer, but United feel they had given the Portuguese more than adequate backing in the transfer market.
In all they brought in 11 players – all of which were understood to be Mourinho’s choices – at a cost of more than £400million during his tenure.
In return, United felt there was no progress either in terms of results, style of play, or the development of young players.
Mourinho joined United in May 2016 and guided them to success in the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League in his first season.
But he was unable to deliver success in the Premier League, with United finishing sixth in 2017, and second – but 19 points adrift of runaway champions Manchester City – in 2018.
The final straw came at Anfield on Sunday, when two late goals from Xherdan Shaqiri, both deflected, condemned United to a 3-1 defeat.
That left Mourinho with only seven wins and five draws from 17 league games this season, their worst return at this stage of a campaign during the Premier League era.
Since the news broke, it seems every former United player has wanted to have their say, and the latest to join that list is Rio Ferdinand.
The former defender has taken to his Instagram account to share his thoughts on today's breaking news, and going by the comments, it seems like the majority of United fans agree with him.
It now seems a long time ago since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, and so far, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho have all tried, but failed, to follow in his footsteps.