Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel believes his former club have a unique opportunity to move in a new direction and “restructure” the way in which they are currently operating, both on and off the field.
The Red Devils have endured a tumultuous existence in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, with their current period of stasis culminating in a fourth successive season in which the club have failed to secure silverware, last lifting a trophy in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.
Their latest disappointment at a ground that was once so regularly accustomed to podiums, confetti and trophy lifts came on Tuesday night as Atletico Madrid secured a 1-0 win (2-1 on aggregate) that knocked Ralf Rangnick’s men out of the Champions League last 16.
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That chastening defeat came a month after Rangnick endured FA Cup elimination at the hands of second tier Middlesbrough, meaning they cannot realistically win any form of silverware this campaign. The Premier League remains mathematically possible, but a 20-point chasm currently separates them from City in first.
So, with Rangnick likely to move upstairs once his interim tenure comes to an end when 2021/22 finishes, the club will be on the hunt for a successor, and Schmeichel believes the club now have the chance to abandon previous customs and adopt a new mode of thinking when it comes to making that key call.
“For a club that professes to be one of the biggest in the world, we have to do better than that,” said Schmeichel, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
“It’s been a long period of not being great and it’s very disappointing. But it’s also a time of opportunity and one we cannot miss.
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“The club is under different leadership and wants to move in a different direction. It’s a chance to restructure the whole football department – how we recruit, how we scout, how we educate.
“We have some hope to cling to that if they get the next steps right, the club can move in the right direction.”
Schmeichel went on to add that the biggest managers in world football will “relish” the opportunity to take the reins at Old Trafford.
“They will see great potential here,” he continued. “If they are the person to get it right, we’ve seen what that means. I think anyone who is not at Manchester City or Liverpool would take that opportunity if it was offered.”
Schmeichel’s assessment comes after former team-mate Paul Scholes urged the club to move for either Thomas Tuchel or Antonio Conte, both of whom remain leading candidates for the hotseat. Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag also remain strong names linked with the soon-to-be-vacant position, and you can find the current favourites to become Man Utd’s next manager here.