Manchester United picked a "weird" time to sack Jose Mourinho, according to former winger Lee Sharpe, who says it was a mistake to hire the manager in the first place.
United announced Mourinho's immediate departure on Tuesday in the wake of their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday. The club will appoint a caretaker manager to replace him until the end of the season while they look for a long-term solution.
The Portuguese coach spent over two years in charge, guiding them to a Europa League title and a runners-up finish in the Premier League.
Sitting sixth in the Premier League and 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, United face a demanding festive schedule amid further upheaval, but Sharpe feels they had to address the drop in morale.
"The timing is a little bit weird," he told BBC Radio 5 Live .
"They have four games in 10 or 12 days. They obviously don't have anyone lined up permanently and I just think it is because the team is not playing great and have had poor results.
"The demeanour of Jose Mourinho and the players has dropped. They have probably accepted they are not going to make a top-four spot and now is the time to change."
The ex-England international said Mourinho had plenty of problems to deal with at United, from constant injuries to a lack of support from the board. Most importantly, though, he believes coach and club were never a good match.
"He has not picked a regular back four. Some of it is due to injury but he doesn't have a settled defence, he likes to kill a game before he wins it and that is not the philosophy of Manchester United," he said.
"They gave him a good contract last year but they haven't backed him. They've then given him players he didn't want.
"He was never my first choice for manager. They weren't in Europe at the time and he was someone who could bring in big names and raise standards. He had a winning mentality and he has brought that to the club. But it was never done in the Man Utd way. I think it was a mistake but I can see why they have done it that way."