Where are they now? The Man Utd Xl from Mourinho’s final game, 2018
Despite winning three trophies in his first year at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho was eventually sacked following a dreadful start to his third season.
Mourinho’s final game in charge at United came against Liverpool at Anfield in December 2018. Sadio Mane’s strike and a brace from Xherdan Shaqiri gave the hosts a 3-1 win, leaving United sixth in the league.
We’ve taken a look back at their side from that day to see how those players have fared since.
David De Gea
Since winning his fourth United Player of the Year award in 2017-18, De Gea has suffered a huge downturn in form.
The Spain international has made a series of high-profile mistakes in the last three seasons and also missed the decisive penalty in their 2021 Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.
But an excellent 2021-22 season ensured De Gea beat off competition from Dean Henderson for his starting spot.
Darmian made just three appearances under Solskjaer before being shipped off to Parma for £1.4million in 2019.
The full-back then joined Inter Milan in 2020 and helped them win the Serie A title, transforming himself into a match-winning superstar forward towards the end of his debut campaign.
After playing regularly under Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, Smalling fell out of favour following Solskjaer’s arrival in 2018.
The 32-year-old spent a season on loan at Roma before making the move permanent in 2020, bringing an end to his 10-year spell at United.
He’s since reunited with Mourinho but is faring better under his management in the Italian capital.
“The situation with Chris is about finding a balance on his body that allows him to be playing regularly because after that his experience, his qualities are there, he is a fantastic player,” Mourinho said in May 2022.
“In this moment he is recognised here in Italy even in a funny way: ‘Smalldini’ which is [a mix] of Smalling and Maldini. He is doing amazing for us.”
Despite being signed by Mourinho for £30.8million in the summer of 2017, Lindelof struggled to earn the trust of the Portuguese manager.
“Lindelof is very, very good in some aspects of the game,” Mourinho later told Sky Sports in 2019. “But he can be bullied in the one-on-one in the box, he’s not especially good in the air and Maguire has that kind of presence and physicality that is very, very important.”
The Sweden international was a regular under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but has slipped down the pecking order following the arrivals of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane.
Young was appointed United captain by Solskjaer, only to then reject a new contract and leave for Inter Milan in January 2020.
The 36-year-old quietly impressed under Antonio Conte, making 26 Serie A appearances during their victorious campaign in 2020-21.
He’s since returned to the Premier League, joining former club Aston Villa on a one-year deal last summer and becoming a bit-part player under Steven Gerrard.
Ashley Young gets the party started for Inter on the day they'll lift the Serie A trophy! 🎉
If this is to be his last game for the club, he's finished a successful spell in Italy with a goal 👏 pic.twitter.com/QPSZaBWPCH
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) May 23, 2021
Diogo Dalot (Marouanne Fellaini, 45)
One of Mourinho’s last United signings, Dalot was regarded as one of the best young full-backs in Europe when he arrived at Old Trafford.
And, after a few seasons warming the bench, the Portugal international has firmly established himself as United’s go-to right-back.
His replacement at Anfield suffered a different fate. Despite being a key player under Mourinho, Fellaini was immediately deemed surplus to requirements by Solskjaer. He joined Shandong Luneng in February 2019 and remains with the Chinese Super League side to this day.
Ander Herrera (Anthony Martial, 79)
Herrera established himself as a fan favourite at United but called time on a five-year stay at the club when his contract expired in 2019.
The midfielder then joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, winning Ligue 1 and playing in the Champions League final in his debut season. He’s now returned to boyhood club Athletic Bilbao.
Martial endured a turbulent relationship with Mourinho and continued to struggle with inconsistency during Solskjaer’s reign. After an unsuccessful loan spell at Sevilla, the forward has been given another chance by Erik ten Hag.
Having worked under Mourinho at Chelsea, Matic joined the manager at Old Trafford in 2017 and became a near ever-present figure in midfield.
The 34-year-old slowly slipped away from the starting line-up in the last few seasons and was reunited with Mourinho at Roma this summer.
Rashford has endured the most difficult spell of his career but there’s early signs that the forward is recovering his best form in 2022-23.
But more importantly, he’s become a national hero in England due to his selfless work off the pitch.
Jesse Lingard (Juan Mata, 85)
United’s only goalscorer from that defeat at Anfield, Lingard initially impressed under Solskjaer but lost his place in the team following a dramatic loss of form.
The 29-year-old then enjoyed a career renaissance during his loan spell at West Ham in 2020-21, registering nine goals and five assists in 16 appearances.
He saw out his contract at Old Trafford and joined Nottingham Forest in the summer, where he’s made an uncertain start to life at the newly-promoted club.
Mata left United after nine seasons in the summer and recently joined Galatasaray.
Lukaku became a much-maligned figure during his second season at Old Trafford and decided to join Inter Milan for £74million in 2019.
“I made my decision around March, and I went to the manager’s office and told him it was time for me to find something else,” Lukaku told Sky Sports in January 2020.
“I wasn’t performing and I wasn’t playing. I think it was better for both sides to go separate ways. I think I made the right decision.”
The striker silenced his critics and rediscovered his best form in Italy, scoring 64 goals in 95 appearances over the last two seasons.
Having won the Serie A title in 2020-21, he returned to Chelsea and endured a year so disastrous that he scuttled back to Milan at the first opportunity.