The beginnings of philosophical change at Old Trafford?


The season end is rapidly approaching and whilst there is still a chance at silverware as Manchester United face of with Chelsea in this weekend’s FA Cup final, the clogs are already in process to prepare for next season, Jose Mourinho’s third and most important campaign to date. Whilst transfer talk is simmering, it is a move off the pitch that has caught the eye as there will be a re-shuffle in the home dugout next season at Old Trafford.

In the build-up to the final home game of the season, Rui Faria announced he would be stepping down as assistant manager and whilst he has only been at the club for two years the decision severs a 17-year relationship with Mourinho. Mourinho and Faria have conquered Europe as a double act producing two UEFA Champions League titles and numerous league titles across Europe. Whilst Mourinho has picked up the plaudits and the notoriety, Faria has played his part along the way.

Mourinho put faith into his Portuguese compatriot at FC Porto and he has continued to guide and sculpt his development and ever since the pair has become extremely close with Mourinho describing him as a brother on numerous occasions. Faria is looking to take a break from football but has stated his intentions to return in the future but as the leading man, the head coach. The media have been quick to pick up his next possible move with Arsenal and Chelsea touted, he is, of course, the special one’s protégée.

This departure leaves a hole in the United back room and over the years it has been a vital piece to the puzzle, Carlos Queiroz, Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan were all integral members to Sir Alex Ferguson’s arsenal. However, Mourinho has addressed the situation quickly stating that Faria will not be replaced. An interesting move, given the apparent importance of an assistant manager in today’s game.

Although there will be no direct replacement, Michael Carrick’s illustrious career came to an end at the Theatre of Dreams, he even managed to roll back the years with a delightful through ball to create the game’s only goal. It has been made clear all season that Carrick will join the back-room staff and Mourinho added that he sees Carrick as a future assistant manager. This is a welcome change for years gone by as we have witnessed the club slip into unchartered territory since the departure of Ferguson.

Whilst Nicky Butt, a member of the treble-winning squad, is now the head of the Academy, United have lost, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and when you consider Paul Scholes and Gary Neville departed in the last decade a lot of experienced and important characters have completely cut ties with the club and although some are still playing, coaching or in punditry it is United’s loss as these types of players are born winners and have the personality and endeavour that is required at the Old Trafford club.

I firmly believe as other clubs have over the years such as Bayern Munich with Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Miroslav Klose, Barcelona with Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola and Ajax with Marc Overmars and Edwin van der Sar that it is a real advantage to transition or acquire these exemplary professionals so they can work with the development of the youth sides and guide the club in the right direction.

With a coach like Mourinho at the realm, who is himself a serial winner, a man who has been there and done it and gone back again, that it is a real opportunity for Carrick to flourish under his tutelage. He has been touted by many of his teammates to go on to be a successful coach and from watching him read the game so well with his footballing brain it is not hard to see why. Therefore, although it is a small step, I believe it is one in the right direction, a decision that could truly shape the football club going forward.

It would be a complete travesty to not retain any of the legends that gave their careers as servants to the club over a period of dominance and success. Who knows, in ten years’ time it might be Carrick himself sat in the hot seat.

Written by Josh Keifer

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