Jose Mourinho "looks fed up" and will be out of Old Trafford before the turn of the year, according to ex-Manchester United star Lee Sharpe.
United suffered a 3-2 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday after turning in a dour display at the Amex Stadium, on the same day Premier League champions Manchester City thrashed Huddersfield Town 6-1.
Mourinho blamed individual errors for the defeat, but former players including Gary Neville and Paul Scholes were hugely critical of the overall performance of the side, while captain Paul Pogba admitted their attitude had been poor.
With Mourinho having been at loggerheads with United's powerbrokers over transfers and having won no trophies last season, Sharpe thinks it is a matter of time before the negative atmosphere around Old Trafford forces the club to make a change.
"I am expecting the manager to get sacked before Christmas," he told Sky Sports. "If he is going to continue with this dourness and this moaning, then people will turn around and say this attitude is not getting us to the top so we need to change it.
"It just seems same old same old. As much as the press and fans have been on Jose Mourinho's case about the negativity over the past few seasons and him moaning about players he has and has not got, he just seems to ignore everybody and carry on as usual.
"He looks fed up and it is reflecting in his team's performances. He is playing negative stuff."
Mourinho has been accused of being too critical of his players in public during his time at the club, although he pointedly refused to single out any of his starting XI after the Brighton loss.
Sharpe, who was part of the United side that won the Premier League and FA Cup double in back-to-back seasons between 1994 and 1996, says the current boss should treat his players in the same manner as Alex Ferguson did.
"One of the things you respected about Sir Alex Ferguson is that he kept things in house," he said of the club's lauded former manager.
"It was done in his office and the dressing room. Nothing ever went to the press in terms of issues he had with players. I think Mourinho could do with taking a leaf out of his book and using that. Nobody digs out their players in public. He is hanging them out to dry.
"Paul Pogba is a special talent, a special individual and a special character. It might be different to how you treat other people but you have to do what you have to do to get the best from him.
"That's what everybody wants to see, the Paul Pogba who rips everyone to shreds for France. It doesn't happen enough at United. I don't know why that is. Is it Mourinho? Does he put too many restrictions on him? Does he put him under too much pressure? I'm not sure but it needs to be sorted out for United to have any chance this season."
|Irving joins Celtics greats in record book, then questions team´s strategy|
|Tite to consider Vinicius for Copa America|
|Casey clings onto lead ahead of Johnson|
|Sancho hails Sterling´s mentoring influence with England|
|Kean out to break records after netting maiden Italy goal|
|Grealish´s England chances would be helped by Premier League football – Southgate|
|Federer survives Albot test|
|Luis Enrique defends Morata after Norway misses|
|Glasgow and Munster march on in Conference A|
|Martinez salutes ´extraordinary´ Hazard ahead of 100th Belgium cap|
|Ramos: Luis Enrique has a wonderful philosophy|
|Schlupp puzzled by CAF mix-up|
|There is still nothing – Hazard dismisses reports of Real Madrid agreement|
|Lyon back to winning ways as Perpignan claim first home victory|
|McCarthy happy to take 1-0 win against Gibraltar|
|Hudson-Odoi and Sancho bringing ´raw mentality´ to England|
|Tite refusing to panic after woeful Panama draw|
|Italy 2 Finland 0: Young stars Kean and Barella inspire victory|
|Top seed Osaka dumped out of Miami Open by Hsieh|
|Spain 2 Norway 1: Ramos penalty gets La Roja up and running|
|Wasps keen on Edwards reunion|
|Liverpool title win would make me the happiest man in the world - Gerrard|
|Saracens cut Exeter´s lead with Harlequins victory|
|Injured Serena Williams withdraws from Miami Open|
|Yaha scores four as Catalans complete comeback to sink Leeds|
|Sagan´s Milan-San Remo dream continues to elude him|
|Patriots owner Robert Kraft ´truly sorry´ over scandal|
|Brazil 1 Panama 1: Paqueta´s first goal cannot prevent embarrassing draw|
|Gibraltar 0 Republic of Ireland 1: McCarthy starts second spell with underwhelming win|
|Warriors star Stephen Curry rested for Mavericks game|
|Harbhajan puts Kohli´s RCB in a spin in IPL opener|
|Axing Sunwolves will damage Asian rugby, claims CEO|
|Chiefs tame Bulls to claim first win of Super Rugby season|
|Low: Sane, Gnabry fit to face Netherlands|
|Northampton expect Hartley return this season|
|Alaphilippe claims first monument with Milan-San Remo win|
|It was only a friendly – Martino tempers expectations after winning start with Mexico|
|Bale ´raring to go´ for Wales|
|Fury-Wilder rematch not until 2020|
|Van Dijk preparing for ´special game´ against Germany|
|Burundi reach first AFCON at expense of Aubameyang´s Gabon|
|Netherlands can´t underestimate Germany, warns Koeman|
|Zion Williamson will not dunk on me, says UCF´s Tacko Fall|
|Anscombe wants Cardiff stay, says Blues coach|
|Thigh problem leaves Coman in doubt|
|Injured Ramsey withdraws from Wales squad|
|Walton wants Lakers to battle on after missing playoffs|
|Folau equals record as Waratahs end Crusaders streak|
|Mourinho targets June return to club management|
|Richarlison pays tribute to ´essential´ Silva|
|Zion out to avoid ´what ifs´ in March Madness|
|Crusaders & Waratahs honour Christchurch attack victims before Super Rugby clash|
|Wilshere targets West Ham return before end of the season|
|Roosters return to form to get off the mark|
|Vinicius and Neymar would get in any team - Casemiro|
|D´Antoni marvels at Harden´s 61: ´One of the best performances´|
|Folau equals Super Rugby try-scoring record|
|Kane hails ´incredible´ Sterling after Wembley hat-trick|
|Malinga to retire after T20 World Cup|
|LeBron: Lakers season ´not what we signed up for´|
|Elvira pulls clear in Kuala Lumpur|
|Lukaku ruled out of Belgium´s trip to Cyprus|
|Thunder stay tied with surging Clippers after big win over Raptors|
|Svitolina, Muguruza exit Miami Open|
|Brady, SuperSonics and the iPod shuffle – the last time LeBron missed the NBA playoffs|
|LeBron, Lakers eliminated from playoff contention|
|Mexico 3 Chile 1: Martino makes winning start|
|Ronaldo display not a focus for Santos|
|Harden equals own Rockets record|
|Isner edges through as Thiem, Nishikori exit|