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POST TIME: 1 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Mourinho fights for his future
AFP

Mourinho fights for his future

AFP, LONDON: Rocked by their worst start to a Premier League season for 26 years, Manchester United head to Burnley this weekend with Jose Mourinho’s future as manager firmly in the spotlight.

Across Manchester, City have no such worries as the champions host Newcastle in a 10th-anniversary celebration of the transformative takeover by their Abu Dhabi-based owners.

Mourinho under fire

Beset by mounting problems on and off the pitch, Mourinho is in danger of another acrimonious third-season departure to go with his sour exits from Chelsea and Real Madrid.

He is battling to avoid the sack after a turbulent period marred by rumours of a rocky relationship with United star Paul Pogba and a transfer squabble between the Portuguese coach and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

United’s second-half collapse in their 3-0 defeat against Tottenham on Monday -- the worst home loss of Mourinho’s career -- was a huge blow, coming hot on the heels of their 3-2 setback at Brighton.

Mourinho insists he retains the support of United’s fans, who have reportedly hired a plane to fly over Burnley’s stadium bearing a message criticising Woodward and owners the Glazer family.

However, several reports claim Mourinho’s squad believe he will be sacked if they lose at Burnley and it will be fascinating to see if they put up a fight to keep a manager maligned for his negative tactics and moody demeanour.

“It won’t be easy, but it’s just the start of the season. I prefer to start badly and end well than start well and finish badly,” Pogba said. After 22 years with Arsene Wenger calling the shots, Arsenal are still adjusting to the Unai Emery era as they head to Cardiff on Sunday.

Beaten by Manchester City and Chelsea in their opening two games under Emery, Arsenal finally got off the mark with a 3-1 victory against West Ham last weekend.

But Emery’s maiden success in the Premier League did not erase the feeling there will be more teething problems to come, even after he reportedly banned fruit juice from the training ground menu.

Arsenal could easily have lost to West Ham after their creaky defence was breached on numerous occasions.

And Emery had to refute a report he has fallen out with Mesut Ozil, who did not feature last week, after the German midfielder struggled to adapt to his high-tempo pressing game.

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin remains optimistic, saying: “We had two tough games to start after lots of changes at the club. We knew it was a question of time, a question of scoring the chances that we had.”