Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes the decision to snub Antonio Conte has cost Manchester United dearly.
The former Chelsea boss has had a strong start to life at Tottenham while, in contrast, interim boss Ralf Rangnick has struggled to turn things around at Old Trafford. Merson claims the decision to hire the German for only six months, whilst ignoring a longer-term solution like Conte, is proving to be a big mistake:
“They really missed the boat with Antonio Conte. When you look at Tottenham now, it was just lazy from united that they didn’t go for him. Spurs are a completely different team now. He’s come in and he’s spoken, and how can you not listen to a guy like Conte. He’s won the league everywhere he’s been. He comes in and he doesn’t mess about.”
“On the other hand, Rangnick is at united for just six months. What can he do in that time? He can’t come in and start ripping it up and telling players they aren’t good enough. The players are thinking that he’s just got six months, they’ll just have a kick around and wait for the new manager in the summer. That’s the problem.”
While Conte is undoubtedly an outstanding manager, he is hardly someone who can be described as a long-term appointment. He has spent just two years at his last two teams, mainly due to fallouts with players and board members.
He would have brought similar traits to Mourinho and United are seemingly looking to move away from that style of management. They have appointed Rangnick simply to give themselves more time to hire the right candidate but it remains to be seen who they will go after.