Manchester United need to “reset” and “take stock” after sacking manager Jose Mourinho, says former captain Gary Neville.
Mourinho was sacked on Tuesday after two and a half years at the club, with United sixth in the Premier League, 19 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said the club needed to appoint someone who meets the club’s “key principles”.
“It’s about making sure the next manager is the right manager,” he said.
“The reality of that is they’re going to have to put the right football structure in around him.”
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United decided a change was needed after no progress with results or style despite spending £400m on 11 players.
The club said the new manager would understand the philosophy of the club, including its attacking traditions.
It is understood players and staff were not happy after a disappointing and unsettling period.
Neville added: “This is not just a moment to sack Jose Mourinho and appoint another manager. This is a moment for the club to take stock of what they’re doing, to reset the structure in terms of recruitment, in terms of the decision-making in the football club, and make sure what they do next is the right move.”
The 43-year-old, who played for United from 1992-2011, believes Mourinho is not the only one to blame.
“The players take responsibility, the board take responsibility, the manager and the coaching staff,” he said.
“There have been seven years of poor decisions and poor recruitment. I’ve no idea who makes the decisions in the football club from a point of view of recruitment and structure – who has the final say? Who is it that is telling Jose Mourinho that those players shouldn’t be signed? I can’t see anybody in the football club that has the qualifications to do that.
“The recruitment over the last years has been erratic, the current management team have had three chances at appointing a manager, they’re probably going to get a fourth.”
What are others saying?
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on Instagram: “Right now is the right time. Things aren’t improving and he has taken it as far as he can. I was one of his biggest advocates two and half years ago when he joined the club and felt he stabilised #MUFC when we needed it. You can’t ignore what Jose has achieved as a manager previously but I feel the time has come for fresh ideas at #MUFC! People have been critical of my comments on TV of late but as a fan I am saying it as I see it. The club needs an injection of positivity and hopefully this decision will allow that to happen. I wish Jose all the best and wish him well for the future.”
Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra said on Twitter: “The thing that is annoying me the most right now is why are people so focused on Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho?
“Let’s focus on rebuilding something solid instead of being in a playground. Doing this is only disrespecting the badge, from now we only need positivity.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “He is a competitive guy, very ambitious. I can imagine the last few months were not a joy. It is not nice to face all those questions.
“But nobody can take away all the things he has won. I hope he has that on his mind as he leaves. He is an outstanding manager.”
Rangers manager and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said: “He’s obviously a world-class manager. He’s been a rival for many, many years when I played. He’s a winner, isn’t he? I mean, how can I sit here and say anything about Jose Mourinho? He’s a serial winner, he always has been everywhere he’s gone.
“He’s done the best job since Alex Ferguson’s left. It seemed they sort of struggled before that but Jose came in and put a couple of trophies in the cabinet, so I don’t think you can criticise him too much.
“It will be interesting to see which direction they go in now with the new manager but none of the Manchester United fans will care what I say about it, so it’s none of my business.”
Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen said on Twitter: “Inevitable is the word I’d use. Mourinho had to go in the end. Simply not getting anywhere near enough out of his players.”
Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen said on BBC Radio 5 live: “I think they’ve looked back critically to where they are and asked themselves: ‘Is this the right way forward?’ With the transfer window right ahead of them, I can understand the timing.
“You hear people talking about how United have lost their identity and that’s what you see among the players. There is no really clear direction and certainly not after they’d been under Sir Alex Ferguson for so many years.”
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said on Twitter: “With Man Utd 19 points behind Liverpool after 17 games, with the vast majority of players playing way below their best… and dour football to boot. Given Mourinho was allowed to spend hundreds of millions on those players the split seemed inevitable.
“Would imagine one of the main reasons for sacking Mourinho now would be to stop the attempted mass exodus of their best players next month.”
Former Manchester United winger Lee Sharpe said on BBC Radio 5 live: “The timing is a little bit weird. They have four games in 10 or 12 days.
“They obviously don’t have anyone lined up permanently and I just think it is because the team is not playing great and have had poor results.
“The demeanour of Jose Mourinho and the players has dropped. They have probably accepted they are not going to make the top four so now is the time to change.”
View from the terraces – ‘Fans won’t be sad’
Andy Mitten, editor of Manchester United fanzine United We Stand, on BBC Radio 5 live: “It has been coming in recent weeks. We’ve been doing polls where 80% of fans wanted him to leave. Very few people will be upset he has gone.
“He had a very good first season, an acceptable second season, but this season has been a disaster.
“The manager is not wholly responsible but he must take a lot of the blame. He is not the only one culpable, the players are not playing anywhere near their best level.
“They won’t be sad he’s gone.”
Broadcaster and Manchester United fan Sam Homewood, on the BBC News Channel: “It is better not to wait five more months if it is not going to work out. Football styles come and go and all the more successful teams around Europe are playing a more attacking game and I imagine some of the players are looking around and wishing that they could be freed up to play that way.
“I think Manchester United have been very fair in giving Mourinho time.
“Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite and then there is Zinedine Zidane, either of which would be very exciting choices.”