Micah Richards questioned the meaning of the “Man Utd way” when clashing with Gary Neville on why the club went for Ralf Rangnick instead of Antonio Conte.
Richards saw his former side Manchester City thrash Neville’s old club United in the derby on Sunday. City won 4-1 thanks to braces from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez. The first half was competitive, but the champions outclassed Man Utd in the second half.
They have faced several tough questions since the final whistle. For example, Roy Keane criticised a lack of effort from the players, saying five or six should never play for the club again.
Neville also bemoaned how United let the game pass them by after conceding a third goal. Pointing to their lack of possession from that point on, the former defender said it was unforgivable.
But it was not enough for him to change his mind about United’s managerial situation, stretching back to last year when Rangnick replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis.
At the time, Neville did not want United to appoint Conte, who was still out of work after his departure from Inter Milan. The Italian has since taken charge of Tottenham Hotspur, where things are not so easy either.
But Richards still thinks Conte would have been the ideal appointment for United, who he feels should have acted straight away rather than getting an interim manager.
Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, Richards questioned the logic behind making the temporary appointment of Rangnick. He asked: “So are you just getting rid of this season then?”
Neville interjected: “You are ranting emotionally without making any sort of sense.”
But Richards replied: “Just because you are connected to United doesn’t mean that my opinion is irrelevant. Rangnick’s best work is done behind the scenes.
“You’ve brought him as an interim and he’s not done great.”
Richards and Neville clash over Conte
With that in mind, Richards reiterated the wiser move would have been to appoint Conte. In doing so, he dismissed claims that he wouldn’t work within the club’s ethos.
He argued: “They should have gone for Conte. Conte was available before he went to Spurs and he was the best available manager at the time.
“Just because he doesn’t fit the ‘Man Utd way’, he didn’t get in? The ‘Man Utd way’ doesn’t exist anymore; they don’t win any trophies.
“Conte is a winner. He has come from Inter Milan. Do United not want winners now? He wins. He wins.”
Neville, though, resisted Richards’ claims, comparing the idea of appointing Conte to the project they tried with Jose Mourinho.
Instead, he expects Mauricio Pochettino or Erik Ten Hag to come in during the summer.
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Neville said: “United didn’t want Conte. Conte is not a manager for Manchester Utd. He comes in for one or two years and leaves.
“United have been there with Jose Mourinho. They want to appoint Pochettino or Ten Hag on a long-term project but needed someone to get them until the end of the season.”
Rangnick will become a consultant to the club after the end of the season. He should have a say in who succeeds him on a permanent basis.
Conte will likely no longer be available due to his commitments with Tottenham. Therefore, they will have to look elsewhere. Pochettino is currently with PSG and Ten Hag with Ajax, but they could try to poach either.
Whatever happens, there are big decisions for Man Utd officials to make.
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