Football Expert & Columnist
Last Updated: 18/04/19 12:23pm
Danny Higginbotham has urged Manchester United to hire a director of football to help kick-start a rebuilding process which he believes could take “a few years”.
United were knocked out of the Champions League this week, as they were beaten 3-0 (4-0 on aggregate) by La Liga leaders Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
The comprehensive nature of that defeat led manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to concede United could need “years” to re-establish themselves among Europe’s elite.
Sky Sports News understands the club are set for their biggest summer clear-out for four years with as many as six established players possibly leaving Old Trafford.
“This summer becomes huge but there has been an unbelievable knee-jerk reaction to United,” former United defender Higginbotham told Match Centre.
“If they have a great performance and win [people say] ‘oh they are back’. If they get beat ‘oh this is going to take years and years’ to turn around. There is no middle ground.
“Solskjaer came in and got the team back on track. He got some unbelievable results – particularly away from home.
“But that does not detract away from the fact that, in my opinion, Liverpool and Manchester City well ahead of Manchester United at the moment.”
Everton vs Man Utd
April 21, 2019, 12:30pm
Tuesday’s defeat to Barcelona means United have lost five of their last seven games under Solskjaer, dropping out of the top four and being eliminated from the FA Cup and the Champions League in the process.
That is in stark contrast to United’s record in the Norwegian’s first 17 games in charge, when they won 14, drew two and lost just once.
Higginbotham continued: “When Solskjaer got the job I was asked the question after they had won a few games, ‘how long do you think it will be before they start winning trophies?’
“I did not change the way that I feel. It is going to be a few years because it is a rebuilding process.
“In the summer what needs to happen, I believe they need a director of football. That is the way football has gone. They need somebody who the manager can say to ‘right I want X, Y and Z’ instead of the manager having to go to someone like Ed Woodward and saying ‘this is what I want to do’ and then he is toing and froing. A manager’s job is hard enough. Have a middle man.
“But I do believe that if they do bring a director of football in it has to be someone that is ingrained in Manchester United history and knows the club.
“It also has to be someone Solskjaer is more than happy to work alongside. That is absolutely imperative.”