Jose Mourinho refused to accept sole blame for Manchester United’s struggles this season as rumours over his future at Old Trafford gather pace.
Mourinho has cut a frustrated and glum figure amid United’s poor start to the campaign after just four wins from 10 matches in all competitions, leaving the Red Devils nine points off the pace in the Premier League.
The 55-year-old Portuguese boss gave a short news conference on Friday before the Daily Mirror later reported Mourinho will be sacked regardless of Saturday’s result against Premier League strugglers Newcastle United.
Under-fire manager Mourinho – who is winless in his past four home matches for the first time in his managerial career – insisted he is not entirely to blame.
“Sometimes things are not just in the manager’s hands,” Mourinho said.
United finished runners-up to record-breaking Premier League champions Manchester City last season, while Mourinho’s men also reached the FA Cup final before losing to Chelsea.
The Red Devils have looked a shadow of that side this term amid Mourinho’s strained relationship with star midfielder Paul Pogba.
Mourinho and Pogba were involved in a training-ground confrontation last week after the French World Cup winner was stripped of vice-captaincy duties.
There have been reports of dressing-room unrest – captain Antonio Valencia apologising for liking a post on Instagram that called for United to sack Mourinho.
When pushed on who is at fault for United’s woes, a coy Mourinho replied: “The same people that were to blame with the fantastic season of last season.”
United invested heavily in Brazil international midfielder Fred, while Portuguese youngster Diogo Dalot also arrived from Porto, however it was a frustrating transfer window for Mourinho – whose request for two more signings was not fulfilled by the hierarchy.
“Success has a direct relation with your own potential and a direct relation with the potential of your opponents,” added Mourinho. “The last season was phenomenal exactly because of these two factors – our potential and the potential of our opponents.
“I think opponents with much more potential than us finished behind us. That is the reason why it was a phenomenal season.”