The Red Devils are in turmoil after suffering a second successive defeat inside the first three games of the new Premier League season.
Mourinho suffered the heaviest home defeat of his managerial career as United went down 3-0 to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday night.
That sustained the toxic atmosphere around the club following a turbulent pre-season campaign in which a moody Mourinho criticised a failure to land his desired transfer target of a new centre-back while he consistently spoke negatively of the club’s preparations for the league season due to their numbers of players absent after World Cup duty.
United have attracted huge criticism following their emphatic loss to Spurs, in spite of the fact that Mourinho’s men showed a welcome willingness to attack in the first 45 minutes.
Jose Mourinho was criticised for a lack of tactical progression by Neil Lennon
Jose Mourinho spent more time than usual clapping fans after full-time of United’s 3-0 loss
One United fan tossed Jose Mourinho a scarf as he applauded the crowd
The hosts wasted chances to take the lead, particularly when Romelu Lukaku fired wide of an open goal after taking the ball round Hugo Lloris, and were later made to pay as Spurs tore them apart at the back.
Mourinho made the point of clapping fans in front of the Stretford End for a full 30 seconds after the full-time whistle – perhaps in a message to the board that the supporters are still behind him with a contingent having stayed to return the applause in the boss’ favour.
That’s with the three-time Premier League winner having come under increasing scrutiny for his tactics, with many perceiving his chosen style as boring given the manner in which it often limits the freedom of the team’s forwards and prioritises organisation and team structure.
But Hibs boss Lennon, formerly in charge at Celtic and Bolton Wanderers, has blasted Mourinho for failing to switch up his style of play at United having had the money and time to imprint a more exciting brand of football.
“The problem Mourinho’s got is that at Manchester United there’s a demand, not only to win games but to do it in a certain way,” Lennon told The Debate on Sky Sports.
Hibs head coach Neil Lennon believes Jose Mourinho needs to change his tactics at Old Trafford
Neil Lennon was joined by Danny Murphy, journalist Oliver Holt and host Geoff Shreeves on The Debate
As well as conceding goals, they’re not scoring enough.
“They’re doing it across the road [at Manchester City], they’re doing it at Liverpool now, and he is in his third season and for me there’s been no real progression on that front.
“He won two trophies in his first year, last year he finished second and he was criticised at times – and rightly so – for the style of football.
“This season there’s been a complete capitulation in two games already, there’s a fragility about United. They’re not easy on the eye.
“If it’s not working, you have to change and have to be big enough to say, ‘You know what, my way’s not working. I need to look at this group of players and look at what’s the best way to get a result.’
“So he went to a back-three and part of that is maybe, ‘This is the best way to go’ or maybe he is being influenced by outside voices for the first time. I don’t know.
Jose Mourinho has looked discontent since the early stages of pre-season
“Whatever, he is right to the point where he is getting criticised for winning, that’s not right.
“Now when he gets beat, and gets beat heavily, you’re entitled to criticism but he has got a point – if you’re winning games and it’s not pretty, but eventually there’s a platform to build from – but that platform is being taken away again because they’ve lost two of three games already very heavily.
“People thought about his pragmatic approach, he does that at times. In the big Champions League, when he knows against the great Barcelona teams you’re not going to dominate the ball.
“He was smart, he sat in and counter attacked and won the game so he was proven to be right. If he’d have set his team out to go out and take Barcelona on in a game of football he knew he would’ve got beaten.
“So technically and intellectually in a football capacity, he was very, very smart. Now he has to find a blend that wins with attacking, quality football and he’s not getting that.
Jose Mourinho’s time at United appears to be coming to a gradual end
Mourinho has bore the brunt of blame for Sanchez’s poor form at United since joining in January
Manchester United were disjointed and outclassed in the second half against Spurs
“He’s not getting that out of [Alexis] Sanchez at the minute, he’s certainly not getting it out of [Paul] Pogba.
“I watched them last year against Sevilla in the last-16 [of the Champions League], they were awful. They got beat 2-1, then he starts going on about, ‘Well I came here with Porto, I came here with Real Madrid and knocked United out of the last-16.’ Totally irrelevant.
“I watched them in the cup final against Chelsea. Chelsea said, ‘Come and break us down’, a la Mourinho. They didn’t have the craft or the creativity to do that.
“I thought he would’ve looked at that and gone, ‘Right I need to bring some creative types in with more attacking flair’ – the stats prove that, 23 attempts on goal, only five on target, no goals. As well as conceding goals, they’re not scoring enough.”
United will hope to end their losing streak when they visit Burnley on Sunday (4pm) though another defeat could leave Mourinho in real trouble despite widespread reports yesterday that he retains the board’s backing.