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.
“He won’t walk because that’s not in his character. I hate the thought of Jose being sacked, but if you are not picking up results and there is this black cloud hanging around Old Trafford, your time as manager is running out.
“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.
“In the past, you’d say United aren’t the kind of club to just sack a manager, but it seems that is what they’re like now.”
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.”
Wales manager Giggs was at Old Trafford for Tuesday’s Champions League tie, when boos greeted the final whistle.
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.”