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Meulensteen: Sir Alex Ferguson should have been replaced from within

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen believes that the Old Trafford club should have promoted from within after Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season. David Moyes was considered good enough to manage the club, and he got rid of the coaching staff and ensure he himself would be gone in around nine months with Ryan Giggs taking charge of the club for the final four matches of the season. At the time Ferguson retired, Giggs was still playing, becoming a player/coach under Moyes. Meulensteen has not named who he would have liked to have seen installed as manager, but surely Giggs could have been an option.

The Dutchman stated that Sir Alex could have taken a secondary role behind whoever was chosen to replace him, making the transition smoother and perhaps United may not have fallen so far, failing to secure UEFA Champions League football twice in four seasons. Whether Meulensteen was alluding to the fact he could have replaced Ferguson, we may never know. It could have been Mike Phelan or even someone like Warren Joyce. With hindsight and the fact Meulensteen, Phelan, and even Joyce have all failed at other clubs, the Dutchman more than once, it might have been better with United taking the road those had chosen with Moyes, Giggs, Louis van Gaal and then Jose Mourinho, who seems to have got the club back on the right track. Meulensteen, speaking exclusively to 888sport, said:

“Everybody knew that from the moment Six Alex Ferguson decided to retire from Manchester United that it would be very difficult because obviously, his are very big boots to fill. I always said there was only two ways of managing that situation. Promote from within with Sir Alex bringing though someone from the organisation and he could have played a big role in that because he’s still in the background. Or the other scenario was to bring in somebody from outside. That happened and it obviously didn’t work and that’s because in his twenty-six years Sir Alex created an awful lot of stability within the club. When that disappeared it became difficult and that’s why they’re struggling.”

The past four years post-Ferguson have been nothing short of a disaster when you look into the money spent, not only on transfers but on wages too. United were the champions of England under Moyes and United ended that season in seventh place with Giggs having to take charge for the final four matches. Under Louis van Gaal, United improved a little, earning a fourth-placed finish in his first season, bringing back UEFA Champions League football with United missing out during that season. A fifth-placed finish in his second season saw Van Gaal’s side miss out on the elite European competition on goal difference, but he won the Emirates FA Cup, which suggested the season was not all that bad with United back on the trophy trail.

The Dutchman was sacked days later with Jose Mourinho being installed as the new manager, signing the likes of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and now Victor Lindelof, also winning three trophies, two of them major; the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League – putting the club back into the Champions League once again. United may well have been in much better hands is Meulensteen’s plans were put into place with Ferguson guiding whoever was at the helm if he wanted to do that of course. It would have been just as much a gamble but there were no guarantees that it would work well or not. Saying that I feel United are in a much better position now, putting the nightmarish

Read the full 888sport interview with Rene Meulensteen, including his thoughts on how Morata should be Mourinho’s top target this summer.

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