Saturday 16 November 2019

Ferdinand: United chiefs need to lock down Solskjaer now

BELIEF: Former Old Trafford hero Rio Ferdinand. Pic: C1 Photography
BELIEF: Former Old Trafford hero Rio Ferdinand. Pic: C1 Photography

Rio Ferdinand has urged Manchester United to hand Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a long-term contract as Manchester United manager, after claiming his former team-mate has already started to restore the club's shattered reputation.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have failed miserably to recreate the iconic success Alex Ferguson generated in his iconic reign at Old Trafford, with six-time Premier League winner Ferdinand telling The Herald the club have belatedly stumbled across the natural successor to his former boss.

United's interim manager has won ten of his twelve Premier League games since taking over from Mourinho and even though Ferdinand expects his former club to crash out of the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain tonight, he wants United chiefs to end the doubts over Solskjaer's future.

"We have tried different managers, different philosophies and we have gone back to what worked in the past and what will work in the future," begins Ferdinand.

"I just hope the club's owners realise that the way they have run the club and the managerial changes they have made at a rapid rate is not how United works. You need people in charge of the team that understand this club and that is what we have got now.

"Manchester United is not like other clubs and people who don't understand that will fail when they go there. The pictures are on the walls to remind you of United's history and in the last few years, the club has moved away from what makes it special.

"Every player who walks through the door at United needs to have a certain DNA and too many have been signed by the club in recent years that lack those qualities.

"When I was at United and a new player arrived, we all eyed him up and assessed whether he was good enough to play for the club. You have to expect that scrutiny when you are at a big club and there is no bigger club than United.

"You also need players in that dressing room who will show people what it means to be a United player. I had people like Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Ole showing me what it meant when I went there and we haven't seen enough of that since Sir Alex retired.

"Ole was one of the players who set the standards when I first went to United, so it doesn't surprise me that he has gone in there now and changed the mood of the club in such a dramatic way.

"He has my old coach, Micky Phelan, alongside him and what they have done in the last couple of months confirms they are the right men for this job, so the club need to give them long contracts and back them with the players they want in the transfer market."

Ferdinand believes leaders are emerging in Solskjaer's dressing room after a sparkling run of form over the last two and half months, as he suggests the ultimate bad boy of the Mourinho era will emerge as the shining light of the future United.

"A lot of people wrote Pogba off, said he wasn't trying hard enough, said he was not good enough to play for United, but I knew that was nonsense, total nonsense," says Ferdinand.

"He is the most effective midfielder in the Premier League when he is played in his proper position.

"Ole and Micky didn't need long to understand how to get the best out of Pogba and almost from the moment they arrived, his performances changed. The same can be said of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and a few others."

Solskajer faces the most daunting task of his reign as he strives to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit in the last-16 clash against Paris Saint-Germain tonight and Ferdinand believes he will come up short in the French capital.

"When the draw for this game came out, everyone said United had no chance and the only reason a few people changed their mind was the impact Ole had.

"But I always saw PSG as massive favourites for this game and nothing I saw in the first leg at Old Trafford surprised me. There was a team that has been built with massive investment and they are a few steps ahead of United at the moment."

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