Whether you think Jose Mourinho should be sacked or not, there’s no denying that there has rarely been a more opportune time to do so.
Some people will be stringently behind Jose keeping his job and that’s their prerogative, but if the board are to take action, it should be in the next couple of weeks.
That’s not an indictment of his football or his results – they typically speak for themselves – but the future of Manchester United can only be reordered and redesigned at various points in a given season to ensure the smoothest passage to the next underwhelming chapter.
And this juncture appears just perfect. The board wouldn’t be without their reasons either.
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Manchester United have qualified for the Champions League last 16, which gives any new boss a potential rest game where he can test out squad depth.
The Lingards of this world will get a watchful eye placed on them before being debunked as a fraud by a boss unafraid to lose the fallback of blaming youthful team selections.
It’s unrealistic to see Manchester United competing for a Premier League title in any of the next few campaigns but finishing in the top four is paramount for them.
They’re currently seven points off that spot, and any further distancing would make the task borderline insurmountable given the blistering pace the top of the league are setting this season.
A lot of that boils down to recruitment, too.
Players that United require to bridge a gap will only come to Old Trafford if they’re playing on the continent and not in that Mickey Mouse cup they won a few years ago.
January is around the corner and the new gaffer could find a complement to the colossus that is one Marouane Fellaini – the sole spearhead of United’s attacking prowess.
Now, heaven forbid that managers have a bit of personality, but Mourinho’s antics have landed on the back page once again and that makes things easier for any potential sacking.
When you add in that any potential manager would be coming into a club whose footballing expectations are finally rock bottom, with a £75 million quid striker to utilise, PR upswing would be enough of a reason to make a hire.
Anthony Martial should probably be a cornerstone of all Manchester United teams going forward, but there’s every chance a new gaffer can take in £100 million for him off Real Madrid if he wants to replace him.
And perhaps Viktor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will finally get the transfers to Blackburn that their performances in United shirts generally deserve.
For all the logic you can attribute to these decisions, there remains an overriding sense of pressure.
Not so much on the sacking, but on the football club in general.
It can be exceptionally difficult to combat ill-will when it lands at your door, and Mourinho’s reign of indifference has gone south, as it has done in previous tenures.
If Manchester United made the decision to sack Mourinho now, not only would it benefit the club logistically and put a new manager in a good place to actually improve them as a unit – it would also play into the hands of supporters who just want change.
It is Christmas after all – the season to be jolly; not the season to be perennially seventh.Score your football odds at PaddyPower.com