The Portuguese was appointed to much fanfare in the summer of 2016, replacing Louis van Gaal, and the 55-year-old became the first manager in the club’s history to win a major trophy in his maiden season.
Mourinho’s Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield successes were followed by finishing runners-up in the Premier League and FA Cup last term, but this campaign things have gone awry from the outset.
United have their worst points return after 17 matches in the Premier League with Sunday’s chastening 3-1 loss at Liverpool leaving them 19 points behind their bitter rivals.
They also face an 11-point gap to the top four, leading the club to dismiss a manager to whom they handed a contract extension in January. A club statement yesterday morning read: “Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect.
“The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and wish him success in the future.
“A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”
The club have quickly set about finding an interim replacement, with former United striker and reserve team coach Solskjaer fitting the profile for which the club are looking.
The 45-year-old signed a new three-year deal at Norwegian club Molde at the start of December, extending his second spell at a club he rejoined after an ill-fated spell at the helm of Saturday’s opponents Cardiff.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Mike Phelan is reportedly in the frame to work with Solskjaer.
Training was taken yesterday by first-team coach Michael Carrick after Mourinho was told the news by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in a face-to-face meeting at the Aon Training Complex.
The Portuguese was later seen leaving his home at the Lowry hotel, where, asked how he was feeling, replied: “Okay, my friend.”
Reds bedevilled by problems – Richard Sutcliffe’s view on Jose Mourinho’s exit: Page 24.