Time is running out for under-fire Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, according to former midfielder Paul Ince.
United, who crashed out of the Carabao Cup at home to Derby, laboured to a goalless draw against Valencia in the Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday night as their poor form continued.
The Red Devils are enduring the worst start to a league campaign in 29 years after an embarrassing 3-1 loss at West Ham last weekend, and host Newcastle on Saturday.
Former United assistant boss Ryan Giggs, who also had a brief spell as interim manager, believes Mourinho should keep his job to help guide the club through a difficult period.
Ince – who won the Premier League title twice with United under Sir Alex Ferguson – feels if United do not produce the required result against Newcastle on Saturday, then Mourinho’s position would be untenable.
“Jose Mourinho’s time is running out, United are no better off than they were before him. If they don’t get a result against Newcastle this weekend, Jose Mourinho is in real danger,” Ince said.
“If they lose on Saturday evening, particularly if it’s a bad loss, there will be a decision made on Jose Mourinho’s future very quickly.
“The signs are not looking good for him. The fact is, United are no better off than they were before Mourinho.
United are on their longest winless run since the Louis van Gaal era, and are without a home victory since the season-opener against Leicester on August 10.
Much has been made about the performances of the likes of Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku as the team struggle for consistency.
Ince, speaking to Paddy Power News, believes the players have to shoulder their share of the blame and are “not interested in playing for Jose Mourinho anymore”.
“What I find disappointing is those players are happy for Mourinho to take the blame. They should be admitting the fact that they are responsible for the way they’re playing,” Ince said.
“They’re throwing him under the bus, despite putting in poor performances every week. And they’re getting away with it.”
Speaking to Notts TV, he said: “I don’t care what fallout you’ve had with your manager, I don’t care if you’ve been at each others throats, that’s part of the industry, but unfortunately when you’re at Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, things will get exaggerated.
“But if you’re a footballer for Manchester United, and you put that jersey on, and you walk out and you don’t give 100 per cent because you might be upset with somebody.. good luck to Mourinho on this stuff.
“I’m talking about players who get upset with a manager, a coaching staff, and think ‘I’m not going to train properly because somebody upset me’… there’s a lot of crybabies out there. On your bad days you roll your sleeves up, fight for the jersey and don’t get distracted by the balloons out there.”
The former winger, who spent over 25 years with the club and is the record appearance holder, said: “United are going through a tough time at the moment. But change now and you will be in the same position in a year or two years quite possibly.”
“I believe that he (Mourinho) should keep his job. I think the problem of late (at United) has been forward planning.”