Belfast Telegraph

Outstanding candidate: Gary Neville reveals who he wants to succeed Jose Mourinho as Manchester United's manager

Gary Neville.
Gary Neville.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed who he would like to take over as manager after Jose Mourinho was sacked.

The club are to make an external appointment as interim boss until the end of the season.

After that, Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino and Laurent Blanc are all expected to be in the frame.

And it's Spurs boss Pochettino that Neville suggests should be next permanent United manager, despite his failure to win a trophy at Tottenham.

"With a net spend of around £29m over the last four years, I'm not sure what more he could have done," Neville told Sky Sports. "He's done an incredible job and I think he's the outstanding candidate.

"You look at Mauricio Pochettino's belief in young players, you look at his performance levels and style of play, you look at the way he carries himself at all times publicly and in private - for me he feels like the most ideal candidate.

"People will say he hasn't won anything, but United have tried managers that won European Cups, they have tried managers that won multiple leagues, tried managers who have had that solid grounding in the Premier League.

"Now they need someone who meets the three key principles of that football club; the promotion of youth, entertaining football and to win football matches.

"If you're a Tottenham Hotspur fan, you won't appreciate me saying that. If you're Daniel Levy (Tottenham chairman), you'll be holding on for dear life but he is the individual who fits the profile of what Manchester United need in terms of what he's done in the Premier League at both clubs."

United are currently sixth in the Premier League table, 11 points off the top four.

"The sacking of Jose Mourinho is as a result of what happened last summer," explained Neville.

"The moment earlier on in the season when it was clear the board had decided that they didn't want to back a couple of Mourinho signings - at that point you're finished as a manager. They gave him a new contract last January - in the summer he wanted to sign centre-backss, those were indentified and once you don't agree with his signings, you're on a collision course. A consequence of going against your manager's signings - it never ends well. We've seen it play out in public.

"Manchester United have been crawling along on their hands and knees - it's been unpleasant, unsavoury, it's impacting the players who look completely demoralised, in some games disinterested - so inconsistent."

Neville went on to suggest Mourinho remains one of the game's great modern managers, despite being sacked by Chelsea and United in a little over three years.

"Jose Mourinho is a wonderful manager and I've never bought into the idea that he is a spent force and he has run his course," he added. "If you are going to be the most successful manager in global football with Pep Guardiola, you are going to have a dip.

"Manchester United is a very difficult football club right now. Yes he has been supported in the transfer market to a level, but it is a difficult club at a time when others are doing things better.

"Whoever came into that football club would find things difficult because Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham are doing things better. Manchester United have fallen behind in the last five or six years."

United legend Roy Keane had offered a scathing criticism of Mourinho's United after their defeat to Liverpool.

"Whatever about scoring a goal, you have to keep some clean sheets and they're all over the place," he said. "Liverpool could have scored four or five.

"The ambition from the manager saying we could finish fourth. You know - Manchester United.

"If you came down from the moon and didn't know anything about Manchester United, you'd think they're an average Premier League team. We look at the badge, the history - some of these players aren't good enough for Manchester United."


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