Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge of Manchester United. Since then, Manchester United has struggled to replicate its success from the Fergie era. Manchester United won the Premier League for the last time in 2012-13.
In the last eight years, they’ve fired four managers. None of the managers who have succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson have had the same level of success at the club.
Manchester United has struggled since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.
Manchester United has struggled in a variety of areas in recent years. Most of it has been a shambles, from recruitment and sales to getting things done in an orderly fashion. But a lot has changed in the last two years.
Manchester United’s new manager combines two experienced veterans, one promising candidate, and a club legend. It’s now time to determine who did a better job.
Number 4: David Moyes
It’s a no-brainer. Simply put, David Moyes was unprepared for the role. Being the manager of Manchester United entails a great deal of media scrutiny and fan pressure. Moyes disappointed fans due to his lack of clout in the transfer window, and it appeared as if he was doomed from the start.
Moyes did not last the entire season. He led Manchester United to 27 victories in 51 games and 15 defeats. That didn’t sit well with the fans, who had just witnessed the same team win the Premier League title by an 11-point margin.
David Moyes was also found guilty in 2014 of vetoing the signing of Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard, who went on to have a successful career with Bayern Munich, was supposed to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s farewell present to the club. Moyes vetoed the deal after informing the board that he didn’t know enough about the player.
Moyes’ time at Manchester United was marred by confusion, and he could not guide a team through an identity crisis. However, the Scotsman has vastly improved and is now in charge of a fascinating West Ham United.
Number 3: Louis Van Gaal
Toni Kroos revealed in February 2020 that Louis van Gaal snubbed Manchester United’s chance to sign him after the club was almost there. Van Gaal, known for his ego, wanted to build his project at the club, and the club did not respond definitively to Kroos’ request. This eventually led to his signing with Real Madrid.
Van Gaal, known for his ‘total football’ philosophy and successful stints with Ajax, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, splurged on transfers. Manchester United signed Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, and Radamel Falcao that summer (on loan).
Manchester United was ninth after ten games in his first Premier League season. This is the team’s worst season since 1986-87. They had suffered humiliating defeats in the League Cup, including a 5-3 loss to newly-promoted Leicester City and a 4-0 loss to MK Dons.
Van Gaal insisted that establishing a project at Manchester United would take at least three years. United’s form improved, and they finished fourth in the Premier League table in 2014-15. Once again, the Red Devils spent heavily during the summer transfer window.
The club’s early exits from the UEFA Champions League and the League Cup did not go down well with the fans. Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial, and Bastian Schweinsteiger were all brought in. However, the football they were playing was dull and uninspiring.
Van Gaal’s future was the subject of much speculation, and he even walked out of a press conference after being bombarded with questions about it. During the 2015-16 season, there were rumors that Ed Woodward would reject his resignation.
Later that season, a 3-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur reportedly turned the dressing room against LVG. The Dutchman was able to lead United to FA Cup victory. Regrettably, he was fired just two days later.
While he did have a philosophy and a style of play, it didn’t appear that the players he had at his disposal were well-suited to his plans. As a result, Manchester United ended up playing a lot of boring football, with the constant sideways passing alienating fans. He also left a lot of deadwood behind at the club.
Number 2: Jose Mourinho
Regarding trophies, Jose Mourinho was the most successful Manchester United manager after Sir Alex Ferguson. However, he left the club in a worse condition than he found it. Manchester United hired Jose Mourinho to replace Louis van Gaal to achieve immediate success.
That is what Mourinho is well-known for. The Old Trafford faithful were overjoyed to see the Portuguese manager. In his first season as manager, he led the club to League Cup and Europa League victories. Mourinho added Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Eric Bailly to his squad.
They were all effective to varying degrees in a variety of competitions. Mourinho’s Manchester United had a promising start to the 2017-18 season. However, things began to fall apart after Manchester United’s Round of 16 exits in the Champions League against Sevilla.
Mourinho’s press conferences became increasingly aggressive. Despite finishing second in the 2017-18 Premier League season, Manchester United was not on the same level as league winners Manchester City.
The 2018-19 season got off to a shaky start. Mourinho frequently complained about the lack of pre-season training and was quite direct in his desire for his players to accept responsibility for their shortcomings. As a result, the ‘Special One lost his dressing room.
Halfway through the 2018-19 season, he was given the sack. Manchester United had won just seven of their 17 Premier League games. They trailed the league leaders by 19 points. The team had a colossal amount of deadwood.
To put it simply, Jose Mourinho may have left Manchester United in a worse state than he found it. The team had lost its identity, and Old Trafford was experiencing a cultural crisis. On the other hand, Mourinho gets to sit second in the rankings for two cup wins in the 2016-17 season and for bringing United back to life after LVG’s departure.
Number 1: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Up until the summer, everything was going swimmingly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. When he took over for Jose Mourinho, he inherited such a mess that it was clear that he would need years to turn things around. The Red Devils’ roster was stacked with senior players in their 30s.
There was no emphasis on youth. The defense and midfield were both tired. There was no established recruitment structure. Manchester United only spent a fortune on players to sell them for a pittance. In came Solskjaer, whose devotion to the club was a breath of fresh air.
He immediately inspired Manchester United to play attacking football, leading the team to eight consecutive victories in all competitions. He became the first Manchester United manager since Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012 to win the Premier League manager of the month award. In his second month as caretaker manager in the 2018-19 season, Solskjaer won it.
Solskjaer also led Manchester United to a 3-2 (on aggregate) victory over Paris Saint-Germain. They had to overcome a 2-0 deficit at the Parc des Princes, and Solskjaer’s young team did the unthinkable to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals.
The board decided to give Solskjaer a three-year contract because there was a lot of faith in the squad. Solskjaer then recruited wisely, but the best thing he did was give the go-ahead to sell all the players he deemed surplus to requirements.
His teams finished third and second in his two full seasons as manager of Manchester United. In his first entire season, Solskjaer also led Manchester United to the semi-finals of the Europa League, FA Cup, and League Cup. They did not, however, win any of them.
After a shaky start, the Norwegian performed admirably in the 2020-21 season. His team recovered to lead the Premier League table halfway through the season. They eventually ran out of steam, however. Solskjaer’s biggest regrets would be losing the 2020-21 Europa League final in a shootout to Villarreal.
That would have silenced a lot of critics. At times, Solskjaer’s team displayed fluid attacking football and a great character. He led his team to a league-record 28-game unbeaten streak away from home.
Manchester United scored five or more goals ten times in 168 games under Solskjaer. They did it twice in 302 games between David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, and Jose Mourinho. Perhaps signing Cristiano Ronaldo was a bad idea.
Despite Ronaldo’s heroics, he bit into the team’s identity under Solskjaer. The Norwegian appeared to have run out of ideas near the end of his stint. There was no getting around a highly ordinary midfield, and humiliating defeats to Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Watford sealed his fate.
Manchester United supporters will miss Solskjaer’s dedication to the club. However, Solskjaer leaves a fantastic squad for the next manager. He has convinced the club to make significant personnel changes in the football department.
He was also dignified in his demeanor.