All is not well at Old Trafford right now, with off-field issues compounded by poor performances during their worst start to a league campaign in 29 years.
Mourinho is already on his longest winless home run in management and Saturday evening’s eagerly-anticipated match could see United go five matches without a victory for just the second time this century.
When it was put to the United manager that this kind of run for a club of this size is not acceptable, he said: “Yes, I accept (it is not good enough).”
Mourinho sat motionless when then asked if he could assure fans that he was doing everything he can to try and turn things around as a tense press conference ended abruptly.
Scheduled at the earlier than usual time of 8:00, the broadcast section involved six questions and started with one asking why things are not working out as he would like.
“For many different reasons,” said Mourinho, who refused to expand on that answer after an awkward pause.
The club’s press officer requested that journalists move onto the game this weekend, when old foe Benitez is looking to secure Newcastle’s first league victory of the campaign.
“Very important,” Mourinho said.
“I know we are in the beginning of October and we look to tables all around Europe and in many of the leagues the tables in September, October, they don’t reflect what is going to happen in a few months later or even in the end of the season.
“But we are in a position that we can do much better than that and to do that we need points – points that we lost especially in the last two Premier League matches, with one point out of six.
“And we know that to improve that position, we need to win these three points.
“But we know that our opponent for different reasons also need the points.
“Very, very, very good coach, a team that is always very well organised against especially the teams of the first part of the table, where their manager is very bright on his analysis of the opponent’s qualities and to try and stop them.
“The results they had against the top teams didn’t get them points yet this season but gave them very, very close results and very difficult matches for the opposition, so we expect a difficult match.”
Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Jesse Lingard remain absent through injury, but Ashley Young comes back into contention for the Old Trafford clash.
The United faithful expressed their frustration in Tuesday’s goalless Champions League draw at home to Valencia, cheering the substitution of out-of-form Alexis Sanchez’s substitution, chanted “attack, attack, attack” and then booed at final whistle.
“Yeah, that’s true,” Mourinho said of the need to repay the fans. “Only one defeat at home all season, only one defeat in the last seven matches.
“But not victories at home in the past three matches – three draws.
“Not the feeling of the defeat, but not the happiness of the victory.
“So, yes, it is important for us to try and win this match on Saturday.”
“My stance hasn’t changed. United are going through a tough time at the moment.
Manchester United have been hit by two UEFA charges after turning up late to their own stadium ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Valencia.
As if things on the football side were not difficult enough, the beleaguered Reds’ preparations were hampered by the city’s traffic en route to the Group H clash.
Jose Mourinho‘s men did not arrive at Old Trafford until around 19:15 and the outfield players did not emerge for the warm-ups until 19:40, leading to the kick-off being put back five minutes until 20:05.
UEFA has now opened disciplinary proceedings against United for the “late team arrival” and “late Kick-off” to the match that ended 0-0.
It’s understood the charges are separate, with the late kick-off charge relating to the failure to meet the rearranged 20:05 start time.
Valencia have also been charged over the late kick-off – along with other charges for the “setting off of fireworks” and a “kit infringement” – and the case will go before the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on October 18.
The European governing body’s regulations shows that late kick-offs bring a warning to the coach and team for the first infringement. A second infringement brings a €10,000 (£8,880) fine for the team and one-match under probation for the coach.
Issues relating to team arrivals can bring a warning or €5,000 fine for the second offence.
United arrived late for matches at West Ham and Tottenham in 2016 under Louis van Gaal, who was United manager the last time the club went on a four-match winless streak.
Their current poor form has seen pressure mount on outspoken manager Mourinho, who blamed Greater Manchester Police for Tuesday’s late arrival.
“We left the hotel at six o’clock, hoping that 30 minutes would be enough, which normally is,” the United boss said after the 0-0 draw. “But this time the police refused to do an escort, so we come by ourselves.
“We took from the Lowry Hotel, 75 minutes. UEFA were nice, the referee was nice to allow us to start the game five minutes later because we at least need half an hour to be prepared.
“We need to win on Saturday and we have to do it for ourselves, the staff and most importantly for the fans." #MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtd) 3 October 2018
“But it was not a problem with the club organisation. We anticipate everything that it could be dangerous, in the sense of arriving late, but we were informed the police refused an escort.”
GMP took umbrage with Mourinho’s response and explained they were not to blame the following morning.
Chief Inspector Andy Sutcliffe, GMP’s silver commander for the fixture, said: “All police deployments are carried out following a comprehensive risk assessment process and specifically in respect of escort team buses, are only ever undertaken on occasions when there is intelligence or information to suggest a risk of threat or harm to the players.
“GMP has previously used police vehicles to accompany a team’s coach but after a review of our core policing responsibilities, it was decided that we would no longer provide this service at every fixture.
“We consulted with the relevant football clubs over a period of months to allow them adequate time to plan ahead for their journeys to the stadium.
“Every fixture is assessed individually, and we will continue to work with all clubs to provide an appropriate policing response.”