Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed suggestions that he is partly responsible for Manchester United’s decline, claiming it is absurd to think he left behind an ageing team and an “antiquated” club and insisting that he wasn’t the only person responsible for the appointment of David Moyes.
Ferguson described as “nonsense” the suggestion that Moyes had inherited a team in decline, saying the problem for his successor was that he had found it “a massive jump” to move to Old Trafford and “hadn’t realised just how big United is as a club.”
“The reason for playing at speed was that United players had been accustomed to operating that way,” Ferguson writes. “If the tempo slowed for any reason, I would be into them at half-time. ‘This is not us,’ I would say. Playing with speed never hindered our results. It was our way: energy and determination in the last third of the pitch.”
Ferguson also insisted that the club followed a detailed selection process before hiring Moyes and that he was kept completely out of the loop when the club decided to sack the former Everton manager.
“There appears to be an accepted view out there that there was no process. Nonsense. We feel we did everything the right way: quietly, thoroughly, professionally.”
The former United manager added that he tried to get Moyes to keep Mike Phelan on board to ensure some sort of continuity with the previous regime, but his successor chose otherwise.
“Maybe David felt that at such a massive club he had to be sure that all corners were covered in terms of his support system. I felt that network was already there, with plenty of great people already in important slots,” Ferguson writes.
“As the results deteriorated, each defeat was a hammer blow to him. I could see that in his demeanour. In January we bought Juan Mata and that gave everyone a lift but I could see the walls squeezing in, leaving David with less and less room to breathe.
“I know that feeling from 1989, when we went through a terrible spell. You feel you are being crushed. The results gnawed away at David. Nobody could dispute how disappointing the season was. And it cost a man his job.”
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