Jose Mourinho is seeking the public backing of the Manchester United board as his future hangs in the balance.

The manager's position has been strengthened a little by the events of recent days, with one of the agents of Zinedine Zidane, regarded by many as the favourite to succeed Mourinho, distancing his client.

Alain Migliaccio was quoted in French newspaper Journal du Dimanche as saying: "I don't think he will go to work in England, as it is not compatible with his style or approach to football. I discussed it with him and the idea really does not attract him at all. He has chosen to take a sabbatical year and won't change his mind on that."

That view tallies with what sources close to Zidane are saying; that he is unsure about the English Premier League and certainly the prospect of taking over a team mid-season.


United have not yet sounded out any candidates and are hoping Mourinho can turn things around and remain until at least the end of the season.

A 3-2 comeback victory over Newcastle United on Sunday was followed by Mourinho claiming there was a "manhunt" against him.

He also revealed that he was reassured by a text message from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to ignore reports he would be sacked whatever the result.

According to sources, it is understood Mourinho wants that reassurance made public - with a vote of confidence in him - but it is not United's style, nor that of any big club, to make such a move.

Privately, senior United figures insist Mourinho has their support. Mourinho has a contract until June 30, 2020, but there is an acceptance that results must improve, as does the atmosphere around the club.

United face a tough run of fixtures in the three weeks after the international break: Chelsea (A), Juventus (H), Everton (H), Bournemouth (A), Juventus (A), Manchester City (A).

United are second in their Champions League group and if they were at risk of not progressing, or lost ground in the league's top-four fight, Mourinho would struggle to survive.

Neither does the Newcastle result mask the problems, with Mourinho again bemoaning the lack of quality in central defence, Eric Bailly suffering the humiliation of being substituted after 19 minutes as Newcastle led 2-0, and Scott McTominay taken off at halftime.


The club will have noted the fans turned on the board during the game, as well as the pointed references made by former player Gary Neville about the hierarchy and Woodward in particular.

Juan Mata, who replaced Bailly and scored United's first goal, said the supporters do not "deserve everything that is going on". The Spaniard said he also hoped the result would give the team a mental lift.

"We couldn't afford another defeat, we couldn't afford another disappointment, especially for the fans," said Mata. "I think they saw we tried everything and we came back, and from the mental point of view, it's a very important three points."