Mourinho retains Manchester United’s support despite bad form

Manager cutting an unhappy figure as club suffers worst league start since early 1990s

José Mourinho still retains the support of the Manchester United hierarchy despite a chastening start to the season that Paul Pogba is confident will not see them swept away.

After a summer of discontent, United have lost two of their first three matches of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 1992-1993.

Alex Ferguson’s men went on to win the title that season, but there are few signs that under-fire Mourinho can lead the team to league glory this term.

As if the woeful 3-2 loss at Brighton was not enough, the Portuguese tasted the heaviest home defeat of his managerial career as Tottenham ran out 3-0 victors at Old Trafford on Monday.

Odds on Mourinho leaving have tumbled but it is understood that United are continuing to back their manager amid the growing storm of scrutiny.

The former Chelsea boss certainly has work to do before Sunday's trip to Burnley given the way his side were ruthlessly carved open by Spurs after United's bright start became a distant memory.

“Even we don’t understand what happened,” United midfielder Pogba said. “We started the game really well, we conceded two goals in the second half.

“The first goal was a real blow, we didn’t understand why, because we had the game in hand. One goal, two ... we kept pushing, we had chances, and we conceded the third.

“The fans kept pushing us, they were really behind us. We feel really sorry for them, very disappointed, we wanted to do better.

“I think it was an undeserved defeat for us, in our desire, in everything we put into it. But football can be cruel. We just have to bounce back.”

Keeping calm

United desperately need to return to winning ways at Turf Moor to ease the pressure heading into the international break.

Last season’s runners-up already find themselves six points off the summit, but Pogba is keeping calm and focused amid the storm.

“It won’t be easy, but it’s just the start of the season,” he said. “I prefer to start badly and end well than start well and finish badly.

“It’s bizarre. [Against Tottenham] we were determined, we started well and in the end we lost 3-0. It’s a shock.”

Pogba’s commitment to the United cause is a welcome boost in an uncomfortable period when his happiness is one of a variety of matters hanging over the club.

Some disgruntled fans have intended to fly a plane over the ground against Burnley calling for the exit of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, while Mourinho is favourite to become the first top-flight manager to leave his post.

Unhappy figure

The United boss has struck an unhappy figure since returning for pre-season, venting his spleen on matters varying from player fitness to professionalism and the need for reinforcements, particularly in defence.

The pressure appears to be making its impact on Mourinho, who stormed out of his post-match press conference on Monday demanding respect.

But the United boss has not lost the board or fans just yet, with the 55-year-old showing his appreciation to the latter by applauding the Stretford End for several minutes after the Spurs game.

Some around the club are understood to have initially wondered whether it was a farewell, but Mourinho explained it was merely an expression of gratitude.

“I went inside the pitch because normally I am the first person to leave the pitch when my team wins,” Mourinho told MUTV.

“But my team lost and the players deserved that they are in the middle of the pitch with me, so I went in the middle of the pitch for my players but then the fans had such an amazing reaction to the boys.

“I had to thank them on behalf of everyone.”