Former Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen has lamented the fact that the Red Devils have lost their identity since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.
Meulensteen, who worked closely with Ferguson between 2007 and 2013, oversaw plenty of success during his time at Old Trafford. However, those glory years have been followed by almost nine years of mediocrity.
Manchester United haven’t won the Premier League since the 2012-13 season, Ferguson’s last season at the helm. Meulensteen believes that in itself is telling of their current state. Speaking to De Telegraaf (via the Daily Mail), he said:
“It says enough that the club has never won the championship since then. The worst part is that United have completely lost their identity. Everything Ferguson had built up over the years has been thrown overboard.”
The 57-year-old went on to add:
“United had their own way of playing, they played in an attractive, creative way. But that recognisable United football is gone.”
The Red Devils have employed as many as seven managers (including interim bosses) in the eight-and-a-half years since Ferguson left the club. Each manager has brought in different playing styles and tactical set-ups, which indicate a lack of planning from the board.
Meulensteen also pointed this out and compared United to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, stating:
“If you want to be successful it is important to have continuity in your vision and a solid, stable organisation. United no longer have either of those things, while Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City with Pep Guardiola do have that stability. You can see that in their successes.”
Manchester United have also picked up only four pieces of silverware in this time. They picked up the FA Cup under Louis Van Gaal, and the Community Shield, Carabao Cup and UEFA Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
“There were two options” – Meulensteen believes Manchester United should have involved Sir Alex Ferguson more after 2013
Meulensteen also stated that Manchester United had two paths to choose from when Ferguson decided to retire in 2013. The club’s hierarchy could have chosen to involve the experienced Scot and his staff in some capacity. Alternately, they could start from scratch by choosing a manager with a different philosophy.
In effect, the Red Devils chose the latter path, which Meulensteen believes is a major contributor to their downfall. He said:
“There were two options. Get someone from the outside who would do things entirely differently at once. Or involve Ferguson in the new course, in which the staff he had built up over the years could also play a role. With the appointment of David Moyes, the first choice was made – and that meant the rest of the staff could also leave with Ferguson.”
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Manchester United are all but out of the race for this season’s Premier League title and are currently 19 points behind leaders Manchester City. However, Ralf Rangnick’s troops are still alive in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.