BBC pundit Garth Crooks believes that the rumours linking Zinedine Zidane with Jose Mourinho’s job at Manchester United have negatively affected the Portuguese coach.
The Red Devils have lost two of their opening four Premier League matches at the start of the 2018-19 campaign, succumbing to a 3-2 defeat away to Brighton before suffering a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham a week later.
MORE: Five things Zinedine Zidane would instantly change after replacing Jose Mourinho at Manchester United
Mourinho managed to steady the ship on Sunday as his team ran out 2-0 winners against Burnley at Turf Moor, but speculation regarding his future at Old Trafford has been rife throughout the last few months of his tenure in charge amid reported unrest in the dressing room and a tense relationship with Chief executive Ed Woodward – as per The Express.
According to Crooks, who had a spell on loan with United during his playing days, the 55-year-old tactician has been affected by speculation linking Zidane with his job in the hot seat at Old Trafford, with the Frenchman currently out of work since ending his hugely successful spell at Real Madrid at the end of last season.
As Crooks stated for the BBC as part of his regular ‘team of the week’ article: “The way Mourinho stood and applauded United fans at the Stretford End as he left the field after the defeat by Tottenham was almost threatening.
“The band of United supporters who are clearly standing by Mourinho sense, as we all do, that their club and the manager are in uncharted waters, and have no idea what the Portuguese might do next.
“I have a strong suspicion the spectre of Zinedine Zidane might have a lot to do with Mourinho’s anxieties. To get so emotional in a news conference in a bid to remind journalists who he is and what he has done in the game is unnecessary – we know what he’s done – but suggests their relationship is at breaking point.”
After the international break, United are set to face Watford at Vicarage Road, who are currently flying high at the top of the league having won all four of their games so far.
Mourinho must surely find a way for his team to pick up another win or face further questions over his future as well as falling further behind the early front-runners in the Premier League title race.