Ten Hag sack after Rangnick mess? Ranking every Man Utd manager post-Sir Alex Ferguson

Jason Soutar
Sir Alex Ferguson, Erik ten Hag and Jose Mourinho with the Man Utd badge
Sir Alex Ferguson, Erik ten Hag and Jose Mourinho with the Man Utd badge

Managing Manchester United is one of the most difficult jobs in football. They have tried their hand at former players, iconic managers and one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s mates since the legendary Scot retired.

It has ended in tears for every single one before current boss Erik ten Hag and it looks like the Dutchman is heading towards the same destiny.

With that in mind, we have ranked all six permanent managers since Fergie left Manchester United after winning the Premier League in 2013.

 

6) David Moyes
On one hand, you can say Moyes was always destined to fail given the monumental challenge of replacing Ferguson, but he still inherited a Premier League-winning squad and turned them into a group of players incapable of challenging for Champions League qualification.

The Manchester United board put a lot of faith in the appointment of Ferguson’s fellow Scot and managerial friend, handing him a whopping six-year contract having been recommended the appointment by Fergie himself. He lasted a grand total of 10 months after a silly amount of defeats and the Red Devils finished seventh in the Premier League.

At least he managed to beat Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield. Every cloud.

 

5) Ralf Rangnick
Manchester United brought in gegenpressing extraordinaire Rangnick to help steady the ship following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2021/22. His appointment was made with the view of him stepping into a role behind the scenes, where he appeared to be better suited. Ten Hag had other ideas, though, and did not give the thought of working with Rangnick the time of day when he arrived from Ajax in May 2022.

Rangnick’s time at Old Trafford epitomised the colossal mess at the club. He only took the manager job to become a consultant months later, which he probably would have been excellent at, only for him to leave before getting the chance, swiftly becoming Austria manager after entering free agency.

The German spoke well – almost too well at times – saying the sort of thing the Manchester United hierarchy did not want to hear. His “open-heart surgery” claim had a brutal truth to it and did not go down well.

On the pitch, results did not improve following Rangnick’s arrival and United ended up finishing sixth in the league, 13 points off fourth.

 

4) Erik ten Hag
The man currently tasked with the poisoned chalice that is managing Manchester United Football Club, it would not surprise anyone to see a different man in the Old Trafford dugout next season.

Ten Hag won the Carabao Cup in his first campaign, which went along nicely with a top-three finish in the league and an FA Cup final, which his side lost to Manchester City. Winning a trophy at Wembley was the highest of highs with the Dutchman at the helm, with this term bringing one almighty low after another.

The Champions League campaign was awful, finishing bottom of a group they had no right to not make it out of. Their Carabao Cup defence ended painfully when United were hammered Newcastle United – the team they beat in last term’s final – at home, and results in the Premier League have been mind-bogglingly inconsistent; at least an FA Cup victory could contribute towards saving an abysmal season.

Ten Hag is rightly under pressure given United do not have a clear philosophy under him and the fact Sir Jim Ratcliffe is undergoing a mass overhaul after buying a 25 per cent stake in the club. The question is: Who does Ratcliffe bring in to replace the former Ajax gaffer? Thomas Tuchel is probably the most appealing name out there and fans are not convinced.

If Ten Hag stays, he will need to change an awful lot to move up on this ranking, and if he is sacked, well, all of our ‘Ten Hag sack?’ stories will have been worth it.

NEXT MAN UTD MANAGER: Ten Hag heading for sack as new name enters the race between underwhelming Man Utd contenders

 

3) Louis van Gaal
What a character. Seriously. From his rants in press conferences to throwing himself on the ground in remonstration to the fourth official after an alleged Alexis Sanchez dive, Van Gaal brought light to Our League and for that, we will forever be grateful.

While the experienced Dutch manager entertained the masses with his antics, his football – which does have an element of importance – left a lot to be desired. He was very pragmatic and adopted the patient, possession-based approach that has served him well throughout his career.

Said style did bring an FA Cup to Old Trafford, the first trophy post-Fergie. And the United hierarchy were so thankful to Van Gaal that they decided to sack him straight after the Wembley triumph.

RANKING: Future Liverpool manager Arne Slot can easily become best Dutch boss in Premier League history

 

2) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Say what you want about the man. Take into account all of the semi-final defeats. Do whatever you want, mate. We don’t care. United played their best football post-Fergie under Solskjaer, who was sacked in November 2021 after a hammering at Watford.

The club legend got the job full-time after a mightily impressive spell as caretaker boss that included an iconic Champions League comeback away to Paris Saint-Germain, to which Rio Ferdinand reacted in a completely normal manner, saying on BT Sport after the result:

Man United might not thank me, but get the contract out, put it on the table, let him sign it, let him write whatever numbers he wants to put on there – given what he’s done since he’s come in – and let him sign the contract and go. Ole’s at the wheel, man – he’s doing his thing. Man United are back!

He was at the wheel during his caretaker stint but Ole eventually crashed and burned.

Solskjaer did bring the best out of Bruno Fernandes, giving him the freedom to express himself and the Portuguese thrived as a result. He even made Anthony Martial look like a competent footballer. The comeback wins, counter-attacking football, and incredible 20-minute spurts in games when United would kill the opposition were the highlights of a fun time with the Norwegian at the helm.

 

1) Jose Mourinho
The Special One got the job after Van Gaal’s sacking and has been the most successful boss since Ferguson retired in 2013. Again, his football was far from incredible to watch but it provided results and this is a results business.

His first season saw Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic shine as the Red Devils won the Carabao Cup, the Europa League and finished sixth in the Premier League, which was insignificant as Europa glory brought the club Champions League football anyway.

The following season brought two-time Champions League-winning manager Mourinho the “greatest achievement of his career”: finishing second in the Premier League, 19 points behind centurions Manchester City.

As it usually does, things went sour in Mourinho’s third season in charge, losing his job in December 2018, which saw Solskjaer take charge.

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