It is no secret that Manchester United are a club in real crisis at the moment, with reports of player unrest being compounded by a poor start to the season and speculation over the future of their Manager, Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho has been his usual prickly self in recent press conferences as he has tried to navigate his way through a series of loaded questions regarding the current mood in the United camp and the rumours of Zinedine Zidane being lined up to replace him.
But while it is nothing short of what you would expect someone to do when needing to publicly defend themselves, Indykaila sources have it on good authority that the reason Mourinho is being so defensive and on edge is because there is more than an element of truth to some of these reports.
In a particularly stressful couple of weeks which have seen the Old Trafford draw at home to newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers, lose on penalties to Championship side Derby County and lose 3-1 away at West Ham prior to the Champions League match against Valencia, Mourinho’s mood was further degenerated when he was hauled in for crisis talks with the Manchester United hierarchy who have almost reached breaking point with the high profile manager.
The disappointing 0-0 draw against Valencia in the Champions League, which was met by a chorus of boos from the United faithful at full time, will have done little to help.
Whilst the meeting was supposed to be top secret, Indykaila’s source close to the club believes that information has recently been leaked to a select few media outlets with a view to further unsettling Mourinho and encouraging him to resign from his role as opposed to being sacked.
This would make sense as any pay-off for relieving him of his duties would doubtless be substantial, especially given the fact that he only signed a new deal in January this year. It would also help to explain the increased speculation and more detailed reports about Zinedine Zidane having been contacted by United officials.
However, and this is a big however, Jose Mourinho has played this particular game before and is highly unlikely to even consider walking away when he knows how much he could receive if United chiefs decide to pull the trigger and end his controversial reign as boss.
While Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward and his colleagues would undoubtedly prefer Jose to walk and had seemingly made a thinly veiled attempt to prompt him to do so, they would surely know that these attempts would be in vein and as such, our understanding is that an ultimatum has been delivered.
The information that we have received as a result of the meeting indicates that the United board have given Mourinho 3 games to save his job at the club and if the results and performances don’t massively improve, then he will be shown the exit door!
This is made even more emotive for Jose given the opposition that he will face in these 3 games. First up is a home game against his old nemesis Rafa Benitez, with whom he has done battle on numerous occasions over the last 15 years (most notably when they were Managers of Chelsea and Liverpool respectively).
They are renowned for disliking each other, having multiple verbal jousts over the years and a weird link is that they have both succeeded one another at clubs in the past (Rafa replacing Jose at Inter, Jose taking over from Rafa at Chelsea in his second spell at the London club).
There is no doubt that Benitez would take great satisfaction in taking a much needed 3 points back to the North East while simultaneously striking a bitter blow to his old foe in his fight to remain in his job.
Following on from that, Jose’s United team travel to his old stomping ground Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea, where he is still held in relative high regard by the supporters but the disappointment of how his time there ended will doubtless still resonate. A loss to his former club, who have been reinvigorated in recent weeks under the leadership of Maurizio Sarri, could potentially all but seal his fate and there is a cruel sense of irony if this is the case.
The third match is a Champions League tie against Italian giants Juventus, who took control of Group H with a convincing 3-0 victory over Young Boys. If United don’t beat Juve and Valencia defeat Young Boys, then it leaves them with a lot of work to do in their remaining matches to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
Jose Mourinho recently made a remark about the significance of the number 3 as he demanded respect for the number Premier League titles that he has won and it looks like that number holds even more noteworthiness than even he realised at the time of making those comments. He is in danger of being renowned as a 3 season Manager following his spells at Real Madrid, Chelsea and now Manchester United. And now 3 games could well decide his fate.