Jose Mourinho held an emotional ‘last supper’ – albeit at lunchtime – amid tearful scenes and hugs at the Lowry Hotel.
Fresh from his sacking, the former Manchester United boss drove to the iconic city centre landmark he had called home for close to 900 days to pick up his belongings and settle his account.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, told Sportsmail that Mourinho had a final meal at lunchtime in the bar of the Manchester hotel when he returned from Carrington, to end a stay lasting two years and five months and costing £500,000.
At around 2.30pm Jose Mourinho was pictured leaving the Lowry Hotel as he begins life out of work after being sacked by Manchester United on Tuesday
The Portuguese manager shakes the hand of a passer-by as he departs the Manchester hotel
Mourinho was in the back of this Jaguar F-PACE being driven away from his old temporary base
Mourinho left the hotel after eating a final meal, during which staff were said to have been sad
They added: ‘It looked like he was doing his paperwork, having a snack and saying his goodbyes.
‘He made a point of seeking some people out and it looked like he was in good spirits.
‘A lot of the staff appeared to be upset and a couple went in for a hug.’
Mourinho is understood to have settled his room service charges on a weekly basis during his lengthy stay in one of the upmarket hotel’s six, plush Riverside Suites.
After United picked up the tab for his first few months, the Portuguese negotiated his own special rate and became well known to staff, many of whom were said to be ‘heartbroken’ at news of his sacking.
There are also set to be sad faces at Brazilian restaurant Bem Brasil and at Juan Mata’s nearby Spanish eaterie Tapeo. Mourinho was a fan of both and would head there on rare jaunts into the city centre itself.
It is understood that 55-year-old Mourinho was planning to return to his family home in London
On Tuesday afternoon Mourinho was seen driving away from the Lowry – his place of residence throughout his time in charge of the English giants.
When asked how he was doing, Mourinho replied: ‘OK, my friend,’ as he allowed photographs to be taken of him before he was driven away in a Jaguar F-PACE.
Earlier, Mourinho was pictured arriving at the training ground at 9am on Tuesday – before being called to a face-to-face meeting with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward where he was told he was fired.
The news was then officially confirmed at 9.46am, before a smiling and freshly-shaven Mourinho – who is set to receive a reported £22.5million payout – left Carrington three-and-a-half hours after arriving.
In the back of the car, Mourinho chatted to a man believed to be his close friend and advisor Ricardo Formosinho as they left with a driver at 12.30pm.
Later that afternoon at around 2.30pm, Mourinho was seen leaving the Lowry hotel as he drove away.
Mourinho smiles as he leaves the Manchester United training ground after being sacked
Mourinho had shaved during his three hours at Carrington, leaving at around 12:30pm
Mourinho was seen speaking to a man believed to be friend Ricardo Formosinho in the car
How United announced the news: The club released a short 65-word statement at 9:46am
Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect.
The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.
A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.
The club released a statement on their website which read: ‘Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect.
‘The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.
‘A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.’
Sportsmail understands that Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is the man Manchester United want to see them through the rest of the season.
The Norwegian, a club legend, is currently in his homeland with Molde. However, United are confident of bringing the former Cardiff City manager back to Old Trafford and sources say there is an ‘outside chance’ a statement may be made before the end of Tuesday.
Mourinho’s two-and-a-half year reign came to an end following the club’s worst start to a top-flight season since 1990. His last game was a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Sportsmail understands that club officials agreed that any progress under Mourinho had stalled this season and that, importantly, a number of the club’s exciting youth prospects were not developing under the former Chelsea manager.
The decision to sack the 55-year-old was made on Monday night, with the club well aware that players were stalling on new contracts because of him.
Jose Mourinho arrives at Carrington on Tuesday morning before being sacked by the club
Mourinho was chauffeured into the training ground, but did not take the session like usual
Mourinho had a smirk on his face as he arrived at the training ground to hear the news
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was quick to take to Instagram in the aftermath of Mourinho’s sacking, posting a cheeky, now-deleted picture alongside the words: ‘Caption this’
United legend Gary Neville immediately hit back at Pogba, telling him to ‘do one’ in response
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It is understood that Mourinho’s refusal to use Paul Pogba at Anfield was crucial to the decision to sack him, with the club unable to sit back and watch millions wiped off players’ values while they rotted on the bench.
Mourinho had also lost the dressing room, having fallen out with a number of the club’s top stars.
The players reacted to a recent tabloid story about 90 per cent of the players wanting the manager out by joking with each other: ‘Who are the 10 per cent that want him to stay?’
Few tears will be shed from the non-playing staff either. The manager took a back seat when it came to non-football issues and sources say he refused to fine players when they failed to show for commercial appearances. ‘He had no interest,’ said a club insider. ‘He didn’t care less if the players fulfilled their obligations or not.’
A reluctance to get involved when, as revealed by Sportsmail in October, a number of first-team players refused to attend a commercial appearance in protest over transport issues that had ruined preparations for midweek home matches, also won the Portuguese few friends.
Luke Shaw did not appear too distraught as he arrived for training on Tuesday morning
Midfielder Fred, who had been sidelined by Mourinho, waves as he arrives at Carrington
Nemanja Matic was another of the stars driving into the training ground after Mourinho’s exit
Mourinho poses with his daughter Matilde (left) and wife Matilde (right) at 2014 fashion show
Meanwhile, United hope to announce a caretaker manager to see out the rest of the season within 48 hours.
Current assistant Michael Carrick is not expected to take the role but sources say the appointment will be a man with strong links to the club.
Laurent Blanc, the former Manchester United defender and one-time France and Paris Saint-Germain manager, is also in the running with bookies to take over at Old Trafford as caretaker boss.
The 53-year-old is a good friend of club legend Sir Alex Ferguson, and is available immediately having been out of work for the last two years.
Mourinho had often suggested he had not been backed sufficiently in the transfer market. However, United officials did not share that view.
Mourinho brought in 11 players, understood to have been his choices, at a cost of around £400m and those in charge believe he was given every opportunity to succeed. There was also considerable friction over United’s plans to bring in a director of football or technical director, plans they will continue to push on with.
He also had plenty of issues with Paul Pogba, and the midfielder was quick to take to Instagram in the aftermath of the news on Tuesday morning.
The Frenchman posted a cheeky picture – which has now been deleted – in which he is glancing at the camera, alongside the words: ‘Caption this.’
Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the front-runner to become caretaker manager
Former United defender Laurent Blanc is a leading candidate to take over too
Michael Carrick would be a popular choice with players, but is not expected to take the role
Mourinho has been under-fire in recent weeks and left his role at the club on Tuesday morning
Gary Neville hit back at Pogba just minutes later, telling him to ‘do one’ in response to the Instagram message.
Manchester United will now turn their attention to finding Mourinho’s replacement. An extensive search will be carried out, with officials hoping for a long-term appointment who can ensure the club challenge for a Premier League title they have not won since 2013.
Carrick will be among the candidates to take over on an interim basis even though the former England midfielder only joined the coaching staff this season. Carrick was at Leigh to see United’s Under-18s beat Chelsea on Monday night when the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was also in the stands.
Zinedine Zidane is available after leading Real Madrid to three Champions League triumphs, although Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be United’s long-term target.
Former Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim completes the three main candidates, although the club are still open to other offers at this time.
Pochettino is Ferguson’s No 1 choice to take over, but it is understood United chiefs are not confident of their ability to steal him away from Tottenham.
Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is another leading contender to take the helm
United will have to pay Mourinho in the region of £22.5m after cutting short his contract
Zidane, meanwhile, has already spoken to the club and they have canvassed his ideas on new players and what he would do if he took over at Old Trafford.
United will have to pay Mourinho in the region of £22.5m to cut short a contract that was due to run until 2020. The 55-year-old was understood to be on a basic salary of £18million and his contract guaranteed a 25 per cent bonus if the club were still in Champions League contention when he was sacked.
United drew Paris Saint-Germain on Monday in the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition.
The players were given the day off but have spoken for some time about it being a matter of when, and not if, Mourinho is sacked.
The mood at the club is said to be desperate and he had almost no support left in the dressing-room before his sacking on Tuesday morning.
It was the club’s form in the Premier League that proved his undoing. United are 19 points behind leaders Liverpool and 11 points off the top-four with a goal difference of zero.
The Portuguese won three trophies at Old Trafford, including the Europa League (pictured)
Manchester United players stand dejected after watching Liverpool score their third goal
Ed Woodwardm pictured in 2016, told Mourinho face-to-face at Carrington on Tuesday
The games against Liverpool and Manchester City, in particular, this season have exposed the paucity of Mourinho’s football compared to his main rivals Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
While Woodward waited until David Moyes and Louis van Gaal could no longer mathematically finish in the top-four to wield the axe, the United chief has decided to sack Mourinho while there is still enough time to retrieve the situation. He becomes the third manager to be fired since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Woodward and Mourinho got on well, with the former desperate for the appointment to work out. Mourinho was also aware that football isn’t Woodward’s game and felt he needed a football head taking care of that side of the club.
Mourinho started off well at United, winning the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield in his first season. But he finished last season empty-handed after losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea and finishing distant runners-up to City in the league, and the current campaign has been beset by problems.
Mourinho’s fall-out with Pogba has had a toxic effect on the club with United’s record signing failing to get off the bench for the last two games. He has fallen out with a number of other players too.
His fall-out with Pogba – they are pictured during a training ground argument – has been toxic
Sir Alex Ferguson (left) watched the worrying 3-1 defeat against Liverpool from the stands
Mourinho shakes hands with Woodward after signing a contract extension back in January
Following Mourinho’s exit, he will now move out of his Lowry Hotel base after staying there for 895 days during his time at the club.
His family base remained in the capital as his daughter — Matilde — graduated from London‘s University of Arts in the summer and his son — Jose Mourinho Jnr — played for Fulham until April 2017.
He had a long-term contract but still decided to remain in a hotel rather than purchase a Cheshire mansion, like many involved with United.
Buying or renting a house never appeared to Mourinho, as he didn’t see the logic in living in a huge mansion on his own. He isn’t a man for household chores, and cooking and cleaning were all taken care of for him at the Lowry.
The Portuguese had good friend Formosinho close by in an apartment, and they would spend most evenings together. He would also have a number of friends over to watch big Champions League and Premier League matches in his suite.
Mourinho was often pictured on the steps of the Lowry Hotel where he was welcomed by a doorman every time he arrived at the five-star accommodation.
Mourinho leaves the Lowry on Thursday last week, the day after losing against Valencia
He will now move out of the plush hotel after staying there for a huge 895 days while at United
An exterior view of the Lowry Hotel shows its location overlooking the River Irwell in the city
The former Manchester United boss lived in one of the hotel’s luxury Riverside Suites.
A Riverside Suite is priced at £600 on their website which means Mourinho has shelled out around £537,000 since moving to Manchester if he has been paying the average online price.
In the aftermath of his sacking on Tuesday, fans and celebrities alike were quick to react to the news on social media.
Manchester City fan Liam Gallagher was among them, writing that he was ‘gutted’ Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford had come to an end.
One United fan noted that it was the ‘best Christmas gift’ the club’s fans could get, while another joked that Tottenham fans would be guarding their manager Pochettino closely over the next few days.
Manchester City fan Liam Gallagher jokingly wrote that he was ‘GUTTED’ by the news
@lh_019 wrote: ‘This is the best Christmas gift a United fan could get’