Jose Mourinho insists he is not to blame for Manchester United’s lack of team spirit, saying “sometimes things are not in just the manager’s hands”.
United were booed off following Tuesday’s lacklustre 0-0 draw against Valencia in the Champions League and have come under intense criticism for domestic performances this season – in particular the 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher delivered a harrowing verdict on Mourinho, saying he has “lost the dressing room” and needs to turn things around quickly, while Liam Rosenior told The Debate that United lack “spirit and energy”.
One report claims Mourinho will be sacked regardless of Saturday’s result after losing the confidence of the board.
Asked why he has been unable to cultivate a team spirit, Mourinho said: “Sometimes things are not just in the manager’s hands.”
Despite the negative response to Tuesday’s performance at Old Trafford, Mourinho says United are “likely” to beat Newcastle if they exhibit similar levels of “desire”.
“We can win against Newcastle, but it’s a difficult match. We can win, we want to win,” he added.
“We have possibilities to win the match, but I refuse to say we have three points in the pocket. I have to respect an opponent, I have to respect a manager with an history of trophies and know-how.
“That’s the way I was brought up in life and in football – to respect.”