Rio Ferdinand has suggested that it’s time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to leave Manchester United – and that he would do so with his “head held high”.
Solskjaer’s position as manager is under intense pressure with just two wins in the last seven games and defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.
It has been reported that the club are not yet planning to make a managerial change and Solskjaer looks set to be in charge when United return from international duty against Watford on November 20.
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However, Ferdinand thinks his former Man Utd team-mate could soon “hand over the baton”.
“We started this season with such hope, but also the transfer window we had, the excitement, we were all sitting there going, 'You know what? This is our time now!',” said Ferdinand on his YouTube channel.
“I have to be honest, Ole was brought in to get us to that point. Under the previous management eras that we had, he was brought in to fix that and bring us to a place where you get the squad intact, you get the players to a point where we can challenge for the league.
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“I sit here now and I don’t think we can challenge to win this league. I look at our team every week and I’m wondering what we’re going to do tactically.
I don’t see any philosophy or identity in the United way of playing, whatever that should be from the management and I sit here confused looking at the team.
“When you look at it like that with the transfer window we had… we were all sitting here excited thinking, 'Wow! This is where we’re meant to be!' But Ole was brought in with the remit to get us back to a point, a moment where you think he’s brought some foundation back. At the end of the season we were thinking: 'Yes, that’s it!'
“I was always deep down a bit sceptical. Could he take us on to be champions? I wasn’t fully convinced, I hoped he would be able to do that. But what I’ve seen this season, I just feel it might be the time now for the baton to be handed over to somebody else who can take us on now. I think Ole can leave with his head held high because, from where he came in to where he left us at the beginning of this season, it’s positive.”
Eurosport's football insider Dean Jones reports that Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is a contender to replace Solskjaer at the end of the season.
Ferdinand says he “hates” criticising a former team-mate, but also thinks managers should get the same treatment as players when it comes to their performances.
“You have to be honest with what you see because if it was someone else I would say it. I don’t get this, 'You can’t say this about a manager', because people are quick to say it about a player: 'Get rid of him, he can never wear the shirt again!' You can’t say that about a manager? What’s the difference?
I hate being in this position where I’m having to call out ex-team-mates or friends, people that I want to see do well. But you have to be honest.
"You can’t sit here and say, 'This player should never wear the shirt', but then protect a manager. I don’t agree with that. You can’t have one rule for players and another for managers.
“It’s not nice to see a man lose his job, but you’ve got to call it how you see it. It’s what’s best for the football club, not what’s best for the individual. The football club will be living and breathing longer than any individual.”
Ferdinand, who played for United from 2002 to 2014, also believes there is a lack of "fear" in the dressing room at Manchester United.
"Every great manager you know that’s been successful or won things in this game, they have an element of fear. Pep [Guardiola] now, [Jurgen] Klopp now, [Thomas] Tuchel now, Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] in my time, George Graham and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal... there’s an element of: 'You don’t do what I say, you don’t follow the fundamentals that make us successful, you are sitting behind me on this bench and will watch!'
"I don’t see that fear in this squad and that can’t be right. That ain’t right."
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