Jose Mourinho has conceded his lack of full control over his team's trajectory has ensured he has been unable to foster a strong team spirit at Manchester United.
The United boss is under increasing pressure after overseeing the club's worst start to a league campaign in 29 years, and while acknowledging defeat against Newcastle on Saturday would be unacceptable, it appears the decision over his future at Old Trafford has already been made.
Reports broke on Friday which claimed Mourinho will be sacked regardless of the outcome of their game against the Magpies as members of the club's board have become disillusioned with the Portuguese boss.
However, prior to the emergence of the news over his future, a tense Mourinho faced the press and indicated that some of his players have not displayed the right attitude, but insisted that he has not yet reached his limit as the manager of United.
“Because sometimes things are not just in the manager’s hands," Mourinho said when asked why he has been unable to ensure his side had the correct attitude, via the Guardian.
"This team can do much better than what it is doing. I said last season was a fantastic season for us and if you want something more, in pre-season I also said that this season was going to be very difficult.
“With all the respect, and I hope they don’t interpret me in a negative way, if we are playing in a league like the Swiss league and we don’t win that league, anything else apart from winning that league would be an awful season.
“In that season [2017/18] with the potential of our direct opposition, last season to finish second was a fantastic season for us.”
Although Mourinho is the public face of United, he acknowledged that the poor start to the season was a collective responsibility and admitted anything other than a victory against Rafa Benitez's men would not be good enough.
He added: “The same people that were to blame for the fantastic season of last season [are to blame for now].
“Yes, I accept. We can win against Newcastle but it is a difficult match. We can win, we want to win. If the effort, the commitment is there that the team showed against a difficult opponent like Valencia – if we do that against Newcastle [and] we are probably a bit luckier, we win the match.
“We have possibilities to win the match but I refuse to say we have three points in the pocket. I have to respect the opponent, I have to respect the manager [Rafael Benítez] with a history of trophies and a history of know-how. That is the way I was brought into life and football: to respect.”