Jose Mourinho’s departure encapsulates the desolate state that Manchester United are in. The [formerly] Special One was brought in for his superstar status despite the obvious incongruity of his tactics with the attacking football United fans had been bred on.
The higher-ups at Old Trafford now find themselves at an impasse: the next appointment simply has to be the right one.
The higher-ups at Old Trafford now find themselves at an impasse: the next appointment simply has to be the right one. But before Pochettino, Zidane or whoever else gets their shot, a solid interim is the priority. But who is the person to steady the ship? With the club confirming that the interim manager will be an external candidate with “close links” to the club, we asked Manchester United fan and Nouse Deputy Editor Chay Quinn for his take on the candidates.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Whilst synonymous with attacking football at Old Trafford and a hero of mine, Solskjaer lacks any real managerial pedigree. His likability is beyond doubt and he would certainly be one to help motivate some of United’s confidence players into rediscovering their best form. He even worked with Paul Pogba in the United reserves. But his tactical acumen draws some scepticism when the peak of his career so far has been managing Molde and the less said about his time at Cardiff City the better. Not the right man.
Laurent Blanc: The front-runner to take the Old Trafford hot-seat until May is former United centre-back Blanc. The questions around Blanc will be his two-year-long break from football and his English skills. But his nationality could be positive too. The players at the centre of the Manchester United storm seems to be Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. Could their kinsman help them stop the loss in form they have largely found under Mourinho? He also has experience managing large teams like France and Paris Saint-Germain, the latter of whom won 11 of 12 domestic trophies during his time in charge. For me, the best practical option all things considered.
Steve Bruce: Lord, please no. There are some nostalgic types that will want to see Bruce take the reins, I am sure. But this manager has not the tactical acumen, style or man management skills to steer Manchester United towards some semblance of stability. He failed at Villa and he would fail at Old Trafford. There is not one iota of evidence that Bruce could do a job at Manchester United. Hard pass.
Mike Phelan: A name not being touted but one that should. Say what you like about his time in charge of Hull City but Phelan lives and breathes Manchester United. His time as assistant manager under Sir Alex Ferguson was trophy-laden and in terms of instilling an identity back into this team that lacks it so desperately, he is the best choice. But again, Phelan is one who you have to ask questions about in terms of tactics. Bringing him back into the backroom under Blanc would be a great idea.
Gus Hiddink: Speaks for itself. The Interim One returns.
Verdict: Laurent Blanc with Phelan, Carrick and McKenna in the backroom.