Rio: Jose had taken it as far as he could
Rio Ferdinand feels Jose Mourinho had taken Manchester United as far as he could, while Gary Neville believes Mauricio Pochettino is the "outstanding candidate" to replace him at Old Trafford.
Mourinho was sacked by United yesterday morning, two days on from the 3-1 Premier League defeat at Liverpool, which left them 19 points behind the table-topping Reds in sixth place and 11 points off the top four.
Their current haul of 26 points from 17 games is their lowest ever at this stage in a Premier League season.
Former United defender Ferdinand said on Instagram: "Jose Mourinho Leaves @manchesterunited Right now is the right time.. things aren't improving & he has taken it as far as he can...
"I was one of his biggest advocates 2 & half years ago when he joined the club & felt he stabilised #mufc when we needed it... You can't ignore what Jose has achieved as a manager previously but I feel the time has come for fresh ideas at #MUFC...!
"People have been critical of my comments on TV of late but as a fan I am saying it as I see it. The club needs an injection of positivity & hopefully this decision will allow that to happen."
It is understood that while first-team coach Michael Carrick took training yesterday, United plan to name a caretaker manager from outside the club by the end of the week to see out the season, with a permanent appointment to follow.
Tottenham manager Pochettino and former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane are among the names being linked with the Old Trafford hotseat.
United are considering their former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, currently manager of Molde, with regard to the caretaker role, and Pochettino is believed to be the main target to take the reins next summer. Former United captain Neville said: "When I look at the values of Manchester United, you look at Mauricio Pochettino's belief in young players at (previous club) Southampton and with Tottenham. You look at his performance levels and the style of play, the way in which he carries himself at all times.
"People suggest he hasn't won a trophy yet at Tottenham but with a net spend of minus £29million or something over the last four years, I'm not sure he could have done more."