The first-team squad were gathered before training where Woodward, the clubs executive vice-chairman, informed them of Mourinhos departure.
Mourinho barely said a word to another member of staff after a one-on-one meeting with Woodward and spent less than two hours at the clubs training ground before departing.
Woodward subsequently explained the clubs decision to fire Mourinho to the players and Metro.co.uk understands he stressed that that 55-year-old was not solely to blame for Uniteds recent form and that the squad had to step-up over the course of the remainder of the season.
Man Utd's Premier League record this season
Games played: 17
Goals scored: 29
Goals conceded: 29
League position: 6th
Michael Carrick has been placed in interim charge for the remainder of the week but United hope to appoint a caretaker manager for the rest of the season, before Saturdays clash against Cardiff City at Old Trafford.
The club view Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino as the ideal candidate to replace Mourinho but will not attempt to hire the Argentinian midway through the campaign.
Sir Bobby Charlton actively discouraged Uniteds board from appointing Mourinho in 2013 to replace Sir Alex Ferguson but Woodward marganlised both Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson in the decision-making process in 2016 when drawing up replacements for Louis van Gaal.
However, Woodward will now consider consulting Ferguson over the clubs pursuit of a new permanent boss and the direction the Red Devils should go in.
Ferguson has made no secret of his admiration for Pochettino and the pair were spotted going for lunch together last October after the Scot requested to meet the Tottenham boss in London.
Uniteds board were content with Mourinhos first two seasons at Old Trafford and handed him a new deal last January.
However, his relationship with the clubs hierarchy soured after he felt he wasnt backed in last summers transfer window.
Mourinho believed the club failed to deliver on a promise to back him after handing him a new deal and the mood around Uniteds training ground has been described as toxic since the start of the 18/19 campaign.
Uniteds defeat at Liverpool left them in sixth place in the Premier League and 19 points behind their arch rivals.
However, the clubs league position was just one reason Mourinho was given for the decision to sack him.
Metro.co.uk understands Mourinhos relationship with a number of Uniteds most high profile players had become a serious source of concern for the board and that it became inevitable the situation could not continue under the circumstances.
Mourinho fell out with Paul Pogba midway through last season but his relationship with the Frenchman deteriorated further and culminated with the clubs record signing being stripped of the vice-captaincy and dropped to the bench in recent weeks.
The midfielder hastily deleted an Instagram post this morning that appeared to cryptically criticise Mourinho.
Uniteds caretaker manager is expected to be someone closely connected to the club, though Nicky Butt, Michael Carrick and Gary Neville have been ruled out.
Patrice Evra has been in close contact with Woodward in recent weeks and has attended a handful of matches as Woodwards guest.
However, the Frenchman is seeking a technical role at Old Trafford and does not envisage a future in management.
More: Manchester United FC