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."
|New Zealand-born Aki will ´relish´ facing All Blacks – Marmion|
|Portugal cannot focus on absent Ronaldo - Santos|
|Ramsey reiterates he wants to stay with Jaguars despite cryptic tweet|
|We tried to hit a home run and it didn´t work out - D´Antoni explains Carmelo exit|
|West Ham´s Zabaleta backs Premier League´s VAR introduction|
|Southgate eyes winning end to England´s ´brilliant year´|
|Patient Zverev seizes opportunity to make amends at ATP Finals|
|Rodgers: Packers still believe they can make playoffs|
|Mahomes hoping to ketchup to Heinz´s touchdown target|
|Ranieri tells Fulham fans not to expect repeat of Leicester ´fairytale´|
|Brown to leave role as RFU chief executive|
|Croatia star Rakitic ruled out of England clash|
|Capital gains for Zverev as he secures last-four spot in London|
|Sancho rise continues with Player of the Month award|
|Jones-Buchanan, Ablett and Briscoe sign new Rhinos deals|
|Root leads from the front as aggressive England assume control|
|Croatia´s Lovren antagonises Ramos and ´rude´ Spain|
|Rakitic has ´enormous respect´ for England ahead of Nations League decider|
|Ireland make flanker switch with Leavy out of All Blacks clash|
|Pakistan rip through Black Caps in Abu Dhabi|
|WATCH: Barcelona mark 15-year anniversary of Messi´s first match|
|Sterling, that you? - Walker uses falling fan to poke fun at England team-mate|
|Fleetwood applies pressure on Molinari, Wallace leads in Dubai|
|Don´t talk to me about VAR – Rakitic not over World Cup final loss|
|Van Dijk leadership essential for Liverpool – Wijnaldum|
|Dalic: Croatia´s bench was ready to stop Spain!|
|Sublime Root century gives England imposing lead|
|Vinicius appreciates Solari influence at Real Madrid|
|Havertz would suit Bayern Munich – Kimmich|
|Wilder: Roach recruitment a sign of Fury nerves|
|Ranieri targets defensive improvements at failing Fulham|
|PSG close investigation into player recruitment practices after finding no discrimination|
|Mayweather: Nasukawa exhibition back on|
|Witsel: Joining Borussia Dortmund my best career decision|
|Ballon d´Or win would not change Modric´s ´best year´|
|Ireland v New Zealand: Opta stats behind the meeting of the world´s top two|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at Saturday´s rugby internationals|
|Batshuayi dismisses reports of Valencia departure|
|Brazil must make Copa America final – Tite|
|Rockets rout Warriors as Green goes scoreless|
|Seahawks rally past Packers|
|Lakers G Rondo to miss 4-5 weeks|
|Durant is done with questions about Green|
|Smith, Warner set to return to IPL in 2019|
|No rivalry between Mbappe and Griezmann – Deschamps|
|Neymar: Emery will bring success to Arsenal|
|Jedvaj backs Croatia to deliver against England|
|Howell grabs first-round lead at Sea Island|
|Rooney backing Kane to break England record|
|Betts named American League MVP|
|Republic of Ireland must improve, says under-pressure O´Neill|
|Injured Sergio Ramos to leave Spain squad|
|Yelich named National League MVP|
|Low praises ´beautiful goals´ from Sane and Gnabry|
|Belgium boss Martinez pleased with patient Batshuayi|
|Wilson and Sancho pay tribute to England ´legend´ Rooney|
|Rooney gave England squad a lesson in humility - Southgate|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: LeBron passes Chamberlain, Williamson looking like he is next|
|We still have a chance - Luis Enrique not giving up hope after Spain defeat|
|Rockets ´parting ways´ with Anthony|
|Rooney became ´embarrassed´ at Manchester United|
|Federer: ´Easier´ to play when I´m up against it|
|Rooney convinced England are in safe hands with Southgate|
|Black Caps skipper Williamson confident over first Test availability|
|Federer cruises into last four of ATP Finals for 15th time|
|Republic of Ireland 0 Northern Ireland 0: Randolph saves light up bore draw|
|England 3 United States 0: Experimental side impresses on Rooney farewell|
|Croatia 3 Spain 2: Jedvaj keeps World Cup finalists in contention|
|Belgium 2 Iceland 0: Batshuayi rekindles Hazard flame with match-winning brace|
|Germany 3 Russia 0: Sane on target as Low´s men stroll|