Has Jose Mourinho taken Manchester United as far as he can?

Jose Mourinho shows the signs of strain as he watches his side crash to defeat at Liverpool

The Sky Sports pundit said that United's fortunes will only improve with a change of manager, with Mourinho having come to the end of his shelf-life at Old Trafford. 'Is it a team that is good enough to win the league? No. Is it a team that should be sixth in the league? No,' said Carragher of United. 'Is Mourinho getting enough out of the players? Nowhere near enough, and this is a top manager. I think the only way it will change is a change in the hotseat.'

Sportsmail's team of experts reveal whether they agree with Carragher by answering the simple question: has Mourinho taken United as far as he can? Read their answers below. 

Mourinho has run out of ideas and excuses, and no longer has the support of the majority of his players. Compare the job he has done at United to Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp at Manchester City and Liverpool in roughly the same period – or even the short-term improvements made by Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri at Arsenal and Chelsea – and the difference is embarrassing. Against Liverpool and City, in particular, United's shortcomings have been ruthlessly laid bare by their biggest rivals. The gulf is too great for Mourinho now. He looks and sounds like a beaten man who is just waiting to be sacked. 

Mourinho actually did a good job in his first year at United. He gave the club some stability, took them in to the Champions League and allowed them to regather some self respect. But United now need to move forwards again and take a step towards being what they used to be. That won't happen under Mourinho and that has been apparent for some time.

Manchester United have fallen well behind Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp (right) under Mourinho

It's unfair to heap all the blame on Mourinho for the utter mess that Manchester United have become. The chief executive has little idea about what it takes to get a successful team on the pitch and the recruitment has been abysmal. Mourinho will leave at the end of the season, if not before. It is difficult to see where they go from here. 

The transfer policy may not be great and there may well need to be changes in the structure of the boardroom, but the manager has to take ultimate responsibility. He has not developed the players he has and United appear to have moved backwards from last season. Agree a deal with Mauricio Pochettino to take over in the summer and let Michael Carrick guide them through the rest of the season, preferably playing their best attacking talent and youth.

Sadly it does appear that this is irreversible now and the last few weeks have had the feel of Louis van Gaal's final season. He did win a trophy that year of course and Mourinho will still be holding out hope of a decent cup run. But that he's thrown the towel in on penetrating the top three so early offers the biggest indication of how the United boss really believes this is going. He will quite rightly point to the club's erratic structure among other problems but nobody is blameless for where they find themselves.

Many of United's players are going backwards and Mourinho seems unsure of his best team

It's difficult to see a happy future for Mourinho with this set of players. They are going around in circles. It's hard to detect any real progress. If United have faith in him and want him to continue as manager they must yield on recruitment, sell those players he doesn't want and let him build his own team without commercial interference. If they do not want to concede the power, then it is time to identify a successor who can operate in this style and change as soon as possible. 

The players simply aren't responding to him. You can't get rid of an entire squad, but you can do something different in hope of extracting more from the players. You see where I'm going with this. Footballers want to be inspired, want to learn, want to improve. They aren't under Mourinho. This going one way. 

If Mourinho retained enthusiasm for the job then perhaps you would argue he should be afforded a chance to turn it around, given the respect his record deserves. But there is no enthusiasm, no energy or enjoyment. Look at Klopp and Guardiola, they are the heartbeat of their respective clubs and players and staff seem to feed off their zest and drive. Sadly, for United, they are in reverse under Mourinho. You can make all the arguments you like about the trophies he has won and a lack of support from the Old Trafford hierarchy, but believe your eyes - United are in a sorry state under Mourinho's management and he has to go.  

Coach Michael Carrick (left) could step up and take charge temporarily if Mourinho departs

A serious football club would have made a change by now. What are they waiting for? 19 points behind the top, 11 off the top four, 36 shots conceded against Liverpool, star players in a huff. It is a mess, from the pitch to the dugout to the boardroom - and Mourinho is by no means the only problem - but he is certainly not the solution.

Evidently, Mourinho took United as far as he could when winning the Europa League by playing a stultifying brand of football to squeak past the continent's second-tier elite. There is no idea, no grand plan behind his work, just an arbitrary series of decisions from week to week. Against Liverpool he pulled Matteo Darmian out of the tombola, but it has been others before and there will be others to come, if he is not put out of his misery. He appears to have little love left for his job, reducing United to a reactionary mess of a team that occasionally spasms into life by virtue of good players going it alone. It is not ideal, but United could promote Michael Carrick for now and then try to get Pochettino in the summer. 

Mourinho appears to have few supporters left after United's latest humiliation at Anfield

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December 17, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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One of Chelsea's more consistent players throughout.</p><p>Long-serving right-back Cesar Azpilicueta delivered a characteristically consistent display</p><p>Not terrible but neither an inspiring match from the tall central defender, who was too often beaten in the air defending Arsenal set pieces. </p><p>Gave the ball away too often at the start and that only gave Arsenal the confidence to attack. Not a commanding match after recovering but neither was he a weak link. </p><p>Headed against a post towards the end of an unusually quiet first half. Did his best to force Chelsea back into the match as he got forward more often after the break.</p><p>Another committed 90 minutes from the Frenchman, who still seems slightly out of sorts in his more attacking midfield role. </p><p>While delivering a typically energetic display, N'Golo Kante remains out of sorts in midfield</p><p>Played a key role in breaking up some dangerous attacks and tried to get his team motoring but ultimately failed to succeed. </p><p>Withdrawn midway through the second half despite being one of Chelsea's better players. His lack of attacking threat, however, was ultimately why he had to make way for Barkley.</p><p>Struggled to get into the match as Arsenal dominated the opening stages and his miss after ten minutes was hardly a striker's finish. So often able to cut through Arsenal's defence, but not this time and was relatively subdued. </p><p>Talisman Eden Hazard was unable to help spark Chelsea into life as they succumbed to defeat</p><p>Another frustrating match for the Brazilian who tried repeatedly to cut in from the left and shoot but never looked like scoring and no surprise when he was replaced by Giroud.</p><p>Sokratis keeps a close eye on Willian as the Brazilian endures a frustrating evening</p><p>Posed more of a threat than the man he replaced and nearly knocked out Koscielny with a thunder bolt shot.</p><p>Fired an air shot at his one and only chance and would have benefitted from a longer run in the match.</p><p>Another player who perhaps should have started for Chelsea as he looked more dangerous on the ball than the man he replaced.</p><p>Cut a dejected, frustrated figure on the touchline as he struggled to get his tactics across. </p><p>Questionable to play without a recognised striker when he had a fit Giroud, an obvious aerial threat to Arsenal's notoriously vulnerable centre backs. </p><p>Did not seem to make any obvious howlers and tried to allow play to flow when he could. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. 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    1 January 19, 2019

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