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Jose Mourinho's perfect successor is already at Manchester United

Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Time is ticking for the transfer merry-go-round to click in again at Manchester United. Despite all the mysticism and media-wizardry that Jose Mourinho possesses, he has failed to deliver a Premier League title to the 20-time champions.

The closest he came was 17 points behind Manchester City. While other trophies have made its way back to United, the gloom that followed Sir Alex Ferguson is yet to be lifted. The cause analysis reveals a deep-rooted problem. But there’s no easy fix.

United’s 3-1 loss to West Ham and Mourinho’s comments regarding the player’s attitude, all points to a lost dressing room. In such a case, there’s hardly any other option than to hire a new manager. But who should that be?

Jordan Street already looked at five options who could replace Mourinho. But none of them seems realistic or good enough to bring back the glory days. Back in the 1970s to 1980s, United faced a similar problem after Sir Matt Busby. It wasn’t before a lesser-known coach from Scotland was given free reign until they regained their legendary status. Even in the initial few years, Ferguson came close to being sacked. While that same resilience is absent in modern football, it might be time to go for a lesser-known coach instead of hiring the flavour of the month.

Back in 2008, Pep Guardiola took over the reins from Frank Rijkaard after leading the Barcelona B side to promotion from the Segunda Division B. He brought with him an attacking style of football, knowledge of Barcelona’s youth teams and ability to bring results. Though United fans were brought up on the same diet, the hierarchy failed to incorporate it into their club DNA and organize the club machinery for sustainability. Something they are still failing at.

However, a similar coach is available at Old Trafford. He played at Tottenham and after retiring with a hip injury, took over the reins of their youth team. United poached him in 2016 and after leading the U18 team to the Premier League U18 playoffs, he was promoted as a first-team coach.

Keiran McKenna will have had at least one years’ experience working alongside the first team and Mourinho, if the Portuguese last till the season ends. He brought about an overhaul of the U18 side powered with with-the-ball drills. His style of attacking football resounded success with an average of 2.8 goals scored per match and a 61% win ratio. That is something that the United fans would love to see again.

His experience coaching the likes of Angel Gomes, Ethan Laird, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood, would allow them gradual promotion into the first-team. It would redevelop United’s youth-first philosophy and bring forth a new wave of United graduates.

The impact of McKenna and Michael Carrick’s coaching was evident when Mourinho and Paul Pogba praised them respectively. While other experienced coaches might bring an aura and a track record of success, there aren’t many with the United DNA. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that coaches like Mauricio Pochettino or Zinedine Zidane can get results, especially when serial-winner Jose Mourinho has failed to deliver a title.

In such sense, maybe its time we look towards a coach that can connect with the players and take of the reins. The free-flowing football United played in the few matches this season has certainly shown hope. The Red Devils have already tried the best coaches they could have had. Pep Guardiola wanted to be serenaded further, while heavy-metal Jurgen Klopp didn’t like United’s Disneyland. On the other hand, Daniel Levy will be reluctant to let Pochettino go. Keiran McKenna may very well be United’s answer. Adding Michael Carrick as safety net to inspire players may work as well.

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Sayantan Dasgupta

Sayantan is a professional writer and freelance sports journalist writing for ItsRoundandItsWhite.co.uk, RealSports101, Sportskeeda and Open Veins of Football. He loves covering the Premier League and the Indian Super League and follows Manchester United and ATK (ISL).

He appreciates pragmatic football and unlike most, understands that the football's beauty lies not only in attack, but the balance between defense and attack. However, he does not forget the love, the flair, and drama of football. When not engulfed in the Premier League or the ISL, he loves to watch Italian Serie A and La Liga.


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