Far from turning Manchester United back into title contenders, Jose Mourinho is instead matching the lows of David Moyes.
A 3-1 loss at West Ham on Saturday left United with 10 points from seven games — matching the club’s previous worst English Premier League start under Moyes in 2013 immediately after Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Defending champion Manchester City is already nine points ahead of its 10th-place neighbor, which was runner-up last season.
Mourinho seems more focused on picking internal battles rather than motivating his players and preventing a display as disjointed as the one in east London that followed a League Cup loss to second-tier club Derby on Tuesday.
Mourinho hasn’t just feuded with midfielder Paul Pogba, who played 70 minutes after being stripped of the vice captaincy, he also opened up a new front against his dressing room by publicly undermining Alexis Sanchez on Saturday.
“Alexis Sanchez is not playing well enough,” Mourinho said, explaining why the club’s highest earner didn’t even make the bench against West Ham.
While Mourinho has been grumbling about his lack of backing in the summer transfer window, he was able to pay 35 million pounds (then $48 million) in January for Sanchez despite being a free agent six months later.
After spending the offseason bemoaning his inability to sign a center back, midfielder Scott McTominay was deployed on the right of an unsettled three-man defense at the Olympic stadium.
Even West Ham reveled in United’s problems before kickoff with an on-pitch discussion about United’s tricky week.
One that got trickier once United was so easily picked apart by a West Ham side with only four points from six games before Saturday. It hadn’t won at home this season until Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko’s deflected strike, and Marko Arnautovic beat goalkeeper David De Gea.
“We are not very good in transition,” Mourinho said. “We are not a team that is very good when we lose possession and the other team counterattacks.”
By the time West Ham took the lead in the fifth minute, United had struggled to escape its own half. A cross from Pablo Zabaleta was flicked in at the near post by Anderson.
“When a team that comes with that mentality, fragility, of the bad result … is not the best way to start,” said Mourinho, a three-time Premier League winner with Chelsea across two spells.
Anderson provided the second in the 43rd. A corner was headed on by Issa Diop and Yarmolenko took the ball past Nemanja Matic before a shot took a heavy deflection off Victor Lindelof and looped into the net.
“We were not aggressive and intense enough to close that shot,” Mourinho said.
United did pull one back — just after Pogba was taken off in the 70th — with Marcus Rashford turning in Luke Shaw’s corner with his back to goal.
But hopes of a comeback flickered only briefly.
West Ham regained its two-goal cushion in the 74th when Mourinho’s brittle defense was pierced with ease. Mark Noble was able to thread a pass through to Arnautovic, who evaded Chris Smalling before striking past De Gea.
“I don’t remember feeling any danger situations in our box,” said West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, who was replaced by Mourinho at Real Madrid in 2010 and won the Premier League with Manchester City in 2014.