Jose Mourinho’s criticism of Manchester United’s transfer dealings and admission that he is now a “head coach” has left Gary Neville wondering who is calling the shots at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils were expected to be busy during the summer recruitment window, with the club seemingly needing greater squad depth in order to mount a challenge for the Premier League title.
In the end, just three additions were made, with Mourinho conceding that his side is no better than the one which finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 .
The Portuguese has suggested that decisions regarding the identification of targets have been taken out of his hands, with Neville admitting that a divide appears to have formed between manager and high-ranking officials such as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward .
The former United defender told Sky Sports : “There seems to be a disconnect between the board and who Jose thinks should come to the club.
“It’s intriguing because Jose’s talking about the lack of influence managers have over signings and sporting directors, heads of recruitment having a bigger say. I actually think that’s the way football should go and that coaches should concentrate on football.
“But who are the people in the boardroom telling him that his signings aren’t right? United haven’t got a sporting director. Sir Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton aren’t being consulted.
“About three or four weeks ago when Jose handed his list to Ed Woodward, it was at that point he was calling on the board and I questioned privately what he was doing. But in the last few days, I can see exactly what he was doing.
“I think he thinks the board have let him down. They maybe thought the likes of Ivan Perisic and Toby Alderweireld – who I thought was a certainty – are a bit old. But get the players in. Jose was bought here to win. You can’t three-quarters build a house, you have to finish it, you can’t hold back.
“The club, since they sacked David Moyes, have been on a roundabout, reacting to things without a long-term strategy. Jose Mourino is a great manager – one of the best in the world over the last 15 years – but you have to back him all the way through and it looks to me at the moment like the board have just retreated a little bit.
“They’ve gone into reverse and said this doesn’t quite fit our philosophy. That philosophy went out of the window five years ago. You’ve now got to deal with the fact the philosophy you’ve got is to win and stop a long period of not winning.”
Despite enduring a frustrating end to the transfer window, United were able to make a winning start to the 2018-19 campaign against Leicester, with Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw getting the goals in a 2-1 victory .