Zidane Now Odds-On with Bookies to Replace Mourinho at Manchester United
Posted on: October 2, 2018, 09:00h.
Last updated on: October 2, 2018, 10:36h.
Are Jose Mourinho’s days numbered at Manchester United? A large section of the UK press believes the writing is on the wall for the Red Devils manager and former “Special One.”
Several reports claim players and staff were “openly discussing” the prospect of Mourinho losing his job as they traveled back to Manchester from London on Saturday, following a wretched drubbing at the hands of West Ham.
Some are even putting a specific number on Mourinho’s days: one.
United take to the field against Valencia in the Champions League tonight and there’s a sense that defeat here would be too much for fans and the team’s top brass to stomach.
The bookies feel it too, having installed Real Madrid and France legend Zinedine Zidane as the favorite to replace the increasingly scowling Mourinho. The Frenchman is a free agent after resigning as Real Madrid boss in May.
The odds on Zidane were slashed to evens following rumors that United had already initiated talks. He is now 8/11 with most bookmakers to become United’s next manager, representing a 58 percent expected probability.
Worst Start Since 1989
The richest soccer club in the world (according to Forbes) has just had its worst start to a soccer season in 29 years, leaving it trailing the EPL leaders by nine points after just seven games. A week ago, United were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Derby County, a team that plies its trade in the English second tier.
Meanwhile, Mourinho — once the coolest cucumber in soccer — glowers on the touchline and sulks through press conferences, publicly berating individual players while lecturing journalists on his own personal past glories.
He has fallen out with his captain Paul Pogba — a recent World Cup winner and the EPL’s most expensive ever player, at $89.3 million — and there are rumors that the players want him out.
Players in Revolt?
Manchester United made West Ham look like world-beaters when the lost 3-1 to the East London side on Saturday, but most alarming was the manner of defeat. Statistics revealed this team of highly paid superstar athletes made fewer sprints at West Ham than any other team in the Premier League that day, leading to speculation that players were deliberately underperforming in a bid to force the manager out.
It’s probably as bad as you’ll see from a United team for quite some time,” grumbled United legend Paul Scholes on BTSport — and it was only halftime.
Could it be that Mourinho is suffering with that “difficult” third season again? The Portuguese is one of the most decorated managers in world soccer, but as critics like to note things tend to sour in his third season at a club, after which he generally skedaddles for pastures new — although this ignores the fact that his first season at United wasn’t too hot either.
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