On Saturday evening, Manchester United and Leicester City drew 1-1 at Old Trafford in a game that the home team desperately needed to win in order to keep their top-four challenge on course. Instead, the Red Devils were fortunate to escape with a point after the Foxes attacking midfielder James Maddison saw a goal ruled out by VAR.
In truth, it was another uninspiring display from United. Many observers have started questioning the wisdom of appointing veteran German head coach Ralf Rangnick. However, it would be unfair to lay the burden of blame for the Red Devils malaise in the last few seasons at Rangnick’s door.
Having been able to find Ferguson’s replacement
Just over a decade ago, the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United boss. The Scot had created a legacy that was hard to match. It was always going to be hard to replace the Scot. In truth, it was near impossible to find a readymade replacement for a manager who had such a big effect on the club.
The likes of Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal had a history of winning big trophies. Meanwhile David Moyes had the potential from his Everton days, but was regarded as not good enough by many connected with United. While other English clubs have found head coaches who are among the best of their generation, United have flopped and failed to find their next Ferguson.
Rivals have appointed top tacticians
Manchester United has struggled to find the right head coach to take them back to the glory days. However, arch-rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have appointed top tacticians, who have gone toe-to-toe in the Premier League title race. City appointed Pep Guardiola, who is considered one of the finest head coaches in the modern game. Meanwhile Liverpool hired uber head coach Jurgen Klopp.
In recent seasons, the pair have enjoyed major success at their respected clubs, doing battle for the Premier League title. United have occasionally been involved near the top. However, nobody really took the Red Devils seriously as title contenders. They were miles behind two of their biggest rivals in the game.
Guardiola and Klopp have been the perfect fit for their clubs. The proof of success is in their trophy cabinets. Since Ferguson left, none of Manchester United’s appointments has had enough to challenge either of the head coaches for being top dog in the English top-flight, even the trophy-laden Mourinho.
Difficult to move forward in the present climate
To be fair to Manchester United, it will be difficult for any head coach to come in and move the Red Devils forward against Manchester City and Liverpool. They are without doubt the best two teams in the Premier League, with Chelsea trailing just behind the duo. The United squad looks to be in major need of surgery. The right decisions have to be made to make United more competitive.
The odds are against Manchester United finishing in the Champions League spots. They are currently three points behind fourth-place Arsenal, who have two games in hand. Tottenham could also move level on points with Arsenal, as they have a game in hand on Manchester United too.
It seems likely that Manchester United will be looking for a new head coach this summer once again. Their reputation in the game has been slightly on the wane in recent years. It will take fantastic recruitment and a magician of a head coach to get near the top two. That may not happen for a long time when the Red Devils have found their next Fergie.
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Is there a head coach out there that could take Manchester United back to the top of the English football tree?