JOSE MOURINHO was rescued last night by the players with whom he has been in dispute – Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
Manchester United fought back from being two down to win a dramatic match with a last-minute header by substitute Sanchez from an Ashley Young cross.
And Pogba was outstanding in inspiring a recovery which saw Juan Mata and Anthony Martial also hit the target.
So United ended a run of four matches without a win on a night of drama at Old Trafford.
But it was heartbreak for Newcastle, who started superbly but at the end were still seeking their first win of the season.
Even by Manchester United’s colourful standards, few matches at Old Trafford have had such a dramatic backdrop as this one.
Speculation on Mourinho’s future was raging out of control with claims and counter-claims about the United boss being sacked or quitting.
His public fallouts with some of his players also posed the question of how determined his team would be to win this vital match.
Well, the answer for the first few minutes seemed to be that the Red Devils were up for it. But it was just for a few minutes – eight in fact. That’s how long it took for Newcastle to take the lead.
And within another two minutes, the Geordies had scored again.
United, with captain Antonio Valencia axed after having to apologise for inadvertently liking an anti-Mourinho tweet during the week, were a defensive shambles again.
A pass from Ayoze Perez saw Kenedy easily turn inside Young, the captain in Valencia’s absence, and finish superbly with his left foot into the corner of the net.
And almost immediately Eric Bailly missed a long ball delivered by Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto – on his first Premier League start – cracked home a left-foot strike on the turn.
Mourinho reacted by substituting Bailly after only 19 minutes with Mata coming on and Scott McTominay dropping into the back-four from midfield.
That was just a minute after David De Gea had to make a flying save to deny Shelvey.
United should have pulled one back in the 22nd minute but Marcus Rashford sent a diving header wide from Romelu Lukaku’s superb cross.
Newcastle should then have increased their lead when Muto had a close-range chance, only for De Gea to keep out his header.
Pogba, who was switched to the centre of the defence for a spell, had a shot saved after a one-two with Lukaku.
And United had a strong shout for a penalty turned down when Perez appeared to handle.
Mourinho sprinted to the dressing room at the break to try to galvanise his players and at the start of the second half.
Toon keeper Martin Dubravka made a fine save from a deflected Pogba drive early in the second-half.
But the United boss showed his exasperation when Rashford missed another chance, heading over from Pogba’s excellent cross.
It was no surprise when the England striker was replaced by Sanchez in the 67th minute.
And three minutes later United finally scored with a fine Mata free-kick after Mo Diame had fouled Martial.
Dubravka then had to make saves in quick succession from Marourane Fellaini and Chris Smalling as the pressure on Newcastle – watched by unpopular owner Mike Ashley – told in the 76th minute when Martial drove home the equaliser after taking a neat flick from Pogba.
And Sanchez had the final say to shatter the Geordies and change the mood at Old Trafford.