Ex-Man Utd coach Rene Meulensteen tells Ralf Rangnick the Red Devils have lost their DNA


Dutchman Rene Meulensteen reckons Manchester United are still to recover from the shock of seeing their greatest-ever manager step away into retirement in 2013

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Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen believes the Reds have lost their DNA.

Meulensteen, the Dutchman who was part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff for 12 years either side of a brief spell as boss of Danish club Brondby, reckons United are still to recover from the shock of seeing their greatest-ever manager step away into retirement in 2013.

He says subsequent managers like David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick have wasted the legacy left to them by Ferguson.

“It says enough that the club has never won the championship since then,’’ said Meulensteen, who spent the last six years of his time at Old Trafford as first-team coach until leaving with Ferguson when United won the last of their 13 Premier League titles.

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Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen with Sir Alex Ferguson
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“The worst part is that United have completely lost their identity. Everything Ferguson had built up over the years has been thrown overboard. United had their own way of playing, they played in an attractive, creative way. But that recognizable United football is gone.

“If you want to be successful it is important to have continuity in your vision and a solid, stable organisation. United no longer have either of those things, while Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City with Pep Guardiola do have that stability. You can see that in their successes.”

Moyes has since admitted it was a mistake to bring in his own personnel to replace Ferguson’s staff when he arrived to succeed the Scot.

Meulensteen believes Ferguson should have been given licence to remain as a guiding hand behind the scenes despite stepping away from the main job after 26 years at the helm.

“There were two options,” he said in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “Get someone from the outside who would do things entirely differently at once.

“Or involve Ferguson in the new course, in which the staff he had built up over the years could also play a role. With the appointment of David Moyes, the first choice was made – and that meant the rest of the staff could also leave with Ferguson.”

The Dutchman is now working as an assistant to Australia boss Graham Arnold but has been put in charge of the team for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Oman because the manager has been diagnosed with covid.

He is proud of what he achieved at Old Trafford after first moving to Manchester to work in United’s academy in 2001.

Meulensteen said: “That was a fantastic time. It was great to work with a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson and be on the training pitch with players like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs, the young Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrice Evra…you name it.

“It was the most successful period in United’s club history. In six years we won four championships. One time, we missed out on the league championship by one point and the other time on goal difference.

“In addition, during that period United have won the Champions League by beating Chelsea and twice lost a Champions League final to Barcelona. It was very special to be able to experience all of that. Now my big goal is to go to the World Cup with Australia.

“Then I will have not only experienced the highest achievable in club football, but also in international football.”

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