Gary Neville has insisted there’s something ‘fundamentally wrong’ with Manchester United after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjaer was sacked by United on Sunday morning after a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford in what was their fifth defeat in seven games.
The Norwegian’s departure was the latest in a line of managers who have struggled to get success since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked after Manchester United’s 4-1 defeat to Watford
On the Gary Neville podcast, the former United defender said they have returned to where they were at the end of Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal’s helms at the club because of a ‘lack of good-decision making’ on the football side.
He said: ‘There is a cultural problem at the club. Ole has taken a battering over the last few months, that is what you get when you are a manager of a football club, particularly one the size of Manchester United. But the reality is that once he leaves, the focus of attention will be elsewhere.
‘It will be on the football executives, it will be on the decision-makers, it will be on the owners. They have proven that without Sir Alex Ferguson that they cannot operate properly as a football club.’
He added: ‘If you spend over a billion pounds, you bring in world-class managers in (Jose) Mourinho and (Louis) Van Gaal and they struggle to get the success the club wants, there is something fundamentally wrong at the club that means they are not winning.
‘Something has got to change for the club to get to where it needs to be.
Gary Neville says there is something ‘wrong’ at the club that means they are not winning
He has urged the club’s owners to hire someone who ‘grasps’ what the football club means
‘We could be reasonable and say the work that Ole has done is building the bridge back to a better future and someone will pick it up, run with it, and go and win the league, but I’m not sure.’
Solskjaer was United’s fourth permanent manager since Ferguson left the club but they are still no closer to challenging for the title or Champions League.
Their relative lack of success has come at a time where across the city their local rivals have stepped into the ascendancy winning five league titles.
Neville said: ‘When I drive to Manchester City, not only do I see a football stadium, I see a DJ playing music outside the stadium, I see an atmosphere building, a fan experience, a spirit.
‘I see a new 25,000-seater music arena being built [on the Etihad campus], there’s a world-class football academy, world-class facilities, there’s a mini stadium which the academy and women’s teams use. They have built a football empire here, where everything threads through, and they make good decisions on and off the pitch.
‘Yet over the road at Old Trafford, where they have got the best asset in the world in Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world in my opinion, and certainly the biggest football club in this country, you’ve had a lot of money being spent over the past eight years, but the decision-making has been really poor.
United’s lack of success has come at a time where rivals City have won five league titles
‘Three out of those four managers were given long-term contracts or extensions and sacked within a few months. It can happen, once, but it can’t happen three times.’
Solskjaer spent over £400m during his tenure at the club and despite finishing second in the league last season, they looked to have taken a step backwards so far this campaign.
United announced on Sunday that Michael Carrick will step in for the next few games, before an interim manager is hired until the end of the season.
A number of top managers have been linked with the club permanently including Zinedine Zidane, Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag.
Speculation on Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has increased since Solskjaer’s sacking, with Neville claiming he would ‘come to Man United on a five-year deal tomorrow’.
The Sky Sports pundit went on to add in his podcast that the club don’t need a ‘local kid or ex-legend’ to take over the club, rather Solskjaer’s replacement should be someone who can ‘build something from the roots up’.
Neville says Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola prove United don’t need to hire a ‘local lad or ex-legend’
Michael Carrick (centre bottom row) will step in for the next few games before an interim boss is announced
He said: ‘You can achieve the values and a culture of a football club without necessarily being the biggest fan in the world.
‘Jurgen Klopp has done that at Liverpool, Pep Guardiola has created a culture and vibe at Manchester City that is special.
‘It doesn’t need to be the local kid or ex-legend coming back home, it needs to be somebody who can grasp what this football club means.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson came down from Aberdeen in 1986 not knowing what Manchester United was; he’d never lived in Manchester and had never worked at the club before, but he grasped it, he got it straight away, understood it and put it into everybody else and created a dynasty.
Mauricio Pochettino is among the favourites to land the United job permanently
‘I’m not saying Manchester United need to create a dynasty, but they need to find a manager who can build something from the roots up, communicate with the fans, and understands the culture, the values, principles, the entertainment, the risk – everything that Manchester United is.’
Neville says the next step for United is to make sure they have got the right man to take on the role as CEO following Ed Woodward’s upcoming departure.
Richard Arnold has been touted as Woodward’s successor and Neville said that he would need to ‘distance himself’ from what’s happened in the last eight years and put his ‘own footprint’ on the job.
Despite United’s terrible start to the season, Neville feels they only need to strengthen two areas on the pitch before they can challenge.
Neville believes United only need to strengthen their midfield and offer right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka some competition
He said: ‘At the end of the season, I would imagine Manchester United are going to appoint a brand-new manager, and he will have to take them forward. But I don’t think Manchester United need upheaval in the dressing room.
‘They maybe need strengthening in central midfield, you could argue there is a right-back issue developing and Aaron Wan-Bissaka needs some competition.
‘But, other than that, I would say if Manchester United could get the players they have got fit on the pitch, they will have a great chance of winning a lot of football matches.’