Former Manchester United skipper, Gary Neville is not optimistic Italian tactician Antonio Conte will turn club’s fortunes around amid strong links with the former Chelsea manager.
Manchester United slumped to another disappointing result at the Kingpower Stadium on Saturday following a 4-2 defeat that was themed by the haplessness and incoherence that has characterised Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s team all season.
After a busy summer window that saw the arrivals of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and club icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United have floundered at home and abroad in the early exchanges of the season, leading to calls for Solksjaer’s dismissal. A vast majority of Manchester United fans believe that Conte, who has won titles with Chelsea, Inter and Juventus and is currently a free agent, will drive the star-studded squad to silverware.
But Neville, who played with Solksjaer throughout his 12-year spell at Old Trafford believes that Manchester United’s hierarchy will give the current gaffer more time, nor does he buy the notion that appointing Conte guarantees silverware.
“Conte won’t be the manager at Manchester United I don’t think,” Neville said during an Instagram Live on Sunday.
“I don’t think they’ll go for that option, personally. He’s a great manager but I think certain managers fit certain clubs and I don’t think Conte fits United personally. As I say, great manager but doesn’t feel right for me that one.”
After a fan suggested Conte would win the title if given the right squad, Neville said: “I’m not in to that, giving someone a squad. We tried that with Jose, “Give Jose a squad and we’ll definitely win the league”. We didn’t, and in the end it was a mess and everybody wanted him out.”
As fans continued to suggest more possible replacements, Neville replied: “Brendan Rodgers to United? No that won’t happen either. Managed Liverpool before, I don’t think they would go for Brendan – who again is a great manager.”
“Will Zidane come? Not sure. We’re just speculating now, throwing names in the air. It’s like when you’re making soup and you taste it having put a load of ingredients in and it’s not particularly great and then you just start adding stuff thinking it’s going to make it better. It’s definitely not going to make it better.”
Referencing United’s frequent change of managers in the post-Ferguson era, Neville expressed confidence Solskjaer will be given more time: “The club won’t sack him. The club will stick with him. The fact that they’ve had those experiences with Moyes and with Jose and Van Gaal, I think they’ll stick to plan.”
“Ole is under pressure but they won’t sack him, there’s no doubt about that. I know that won’t please some of you. I know some of you want a new manager. I’ve never asked for a Premier League manager to be sacked in the 11 years since I stopped playing football and that’s not going to happen now.”
“Let’s not panic here. There’s no need to panic. Everyone will want Manchester United to panic. There’s nothing that can be fixed in the next 10 minutes. Stick to plan, get though the season, see what happens this season.”
“Obviously if then there isn’t a trophy or it continues to go as it is, then Ole will come under great pressure. He knows that, having been in the job for three-and-a-half years at that time.”