Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has been forced to apologise after liking an Instagram post which called for under-fire manager Jose Mourinho to be sacked.
Following United’s drab Champions League draw with Valencia on Tuesday night, the fan account describes watching United play under Mourinho as a form of ‘punishment’ before suggesting his position as manager has now become untenable.
And, with the Portuguese taking shots from all angles, including Paul Scholes’ outburst on Tuesday night, the United skipper’s seemingly inadvertent Instagram activity did little to dispel reports of disharmony within the camp.
The Valencia fan account, teamvalencia25, said: ‘I’m not even surprised about the outcome of this game. I always look forward to out games but recently Mourinho has made watching us a punishment.
‘Something needs to change. It’s time for Mourinho to go.’
On Wednesday morning, however, Valencia took to Twitter to say he liked the post without reading the caption and profusely apologised for doing so.
‘Yesterday, I liked a post on Instagram without reading the text that accompanied the picture,’ he wrote.
‘These are not my views and I apologise for this. I am fully supportive of the manager and my team-mates. We are all giving our everything to improve the results.’
It comes just after Valencia attempted to quash rumours of a rift in the Manchester United camp by claiming Mourinho has the full backing of the squad.
United’s result on Tuesday means Mourinho has now gone winless in four consecutive games for the first time in his managerial career.
The poor run on the field has been compounded by a power struggle off it, which saw the Portuguese strip Paul Pogba of the vice-captaincy before the pair endured a very public training-ground spat.
And Sportsmail this week reported that Mourinho is barely on speaking terms with Valencia after he failed to attend last week’s Carabao Cup defeat by Derby – which appears increasingly accurate given Valencia’s actions on Instagram.
The United skipper, however, played a straight bat after Tuesday night’s game in an attempt to project cohesion and unity amid a hugely turbulent few weeks for the club.
Asked if he is fully behind Mourinho, Valencia replied: ‘One hundred per cent. He is our boss, we have to be with him and we are fighting.’
Yesterday, I liked a post on Instagram without reading the text that accompanied the picture. These are not my views and I apologise for this. I am fully supportive of the manager and my teammates. We are all giving our everything to improve the results. pic.twitter.com/bMEsrAwMkh
— Antonio Valencia (@anto_v25) October 3, 2018
He added: ‘No, I have never had any problem with anyone, thank God.
‘The decision [about the captaincy and vice-captaincy] is for the coach to make, now we need to see the positives. We played an important game and got a point, now we have a game against Newcastle and we need to fight.’
‘What I can say from the inside is that the lads are calm, working every day with a good attitude. We haven’t got good results and that’s why rumours arise.’
United’s somewhat abject league form has seen them earn just 10 points from their opening seven Premier League fixtures.
They will have an attempt to better that record on Saturday when they host lowly Newcastle at Old Trafford.