Van Gaal warns Ten Hag against taking over the leadership of Manchester United (commercial) … Leeds sacrificed the sacking of Bielsa in his fourth season
The international pause came as an opportunity for the clubs to review their harvest during the season that is approaching its end and to lay out the features of the strengthening plans they would like to make, whether to correct the situation of the faltering teams or to search for solutions to restore another to its leading role.
Perhaps the coach is the weakest link, as he is always the first to be blamed and dismissed in case the teams falter, so it is not surprising that the international break is an opportunity for clubs to open lines of communication with names that they may see as the appropriate solution to the crises of their teams in the near future.
The ancient Manchester United is one of the English and European clubs that suffered through the change of technical staff in the hope of finding a coach who can replace the Scottish legend Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired in 2013.
Since Ferguson’s departure, United have rotated multiple names; The Scotsman David Moyes, the Dutchman Louis van Gaal, the Portuguese Jose Mourinho and the Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the German Ralph Rangnick is currently taking over the task, all of which could not reach the podium in the English Premier League.
And it is reported that United began “positive” negotiations with Ajax Amsterdam coach Eric Ten Hag in order to supervise the team starting next summer, despite the introduction of other names to take on this difficult responsibility, such as Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, who seems to be on his way to leave Paris Saint-Germain after disappointment. Exiting the Champions League final price at the hands of Real Madrid, the Spanish coach of Seville, Julen Lopetegui, or the coach of the Spanish national team and former Barcelona, Luis Enrique. And because what happened with the former coaches, all of whom were resonant names, collided with a flabby administrative reality in an ancient club, which still only sees the period of the legend Ferguson, Van Gaal warned his compatriot Ten Hag from training Manchester United, and urged him to choose a football team instead of a club. “Commercial,” he said.
Bielsa fell victim to the mystery of the decline in level after the third season in Leeds (EPA)
Van Gaal coached United between 2014 and 2016, and led them to win the FA Cup in his final season before being sacked to be replaced by Mourinho.
“Eric Ten Hag is a great coach, and that’s good for Manchester United, but he’s a commercial club, so it’s a tough choice for the coach… It’s better for him to go to a team,” Van Gaal said on the sidelines of his country’s (Dutch) national team match with Germany yesterday (Tuesday). Football, I wouldn’t advise him, but he would call me himself. But he should choose the football club, not a commercial club.” But it seems that both United and Ten Hag have reached “positive” lines of convergence, and that the “Red Devils” officials were impressed by the vision of the 52-year-old Dutch coach, who has been supervising Ajax since 2017, during which he achieved the league and cup double in 2019 and 2020, as he leads the standings. This season, they are two points ahead of PSV Eindhoven, and they also qualified for the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
It is certain that any new technical management for United will be on the verge of an arduous task with a team demanding to rebuild it, especially with the arrival of stars such as French Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Uruguayan Edinson Cavani to the end of their contract next summer, and the future of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, the 37-year-old. A year that he returned to United last summer, is not guaranteed after the disappointing season that saw the team exit from the Champions League final at the hands of Atletico Madrid, and fall behind in the Premier League after 30 stages, four points behind the last fourth qualifying for the Champions League.
It seems that the issue of changing coaches has become a human instinct, as described by sports critic Chris Evans in an article for the British newspaper “The Guardian”. He says, “During the search for an explanation for the state of chaos that hits the teams, and striving to find out why this happened… you find the words focus on the extent of the success of the technical directors.” And the talk is not only about United, who decided to dispense with Solskjaer in mid-December, but also about Leeds United, who sacrificed its capable Argentine coach, Marcelo Bielsa last month, after a shocking decline in results… It is strange that both Solskjaer and Bielsa had spent 3 years with their teams. As if the third year is the one that has become articulated in judging the coaches! Evans says: “There are many arguments in support of this theory, especially that Leeds United’s level has begun to decline significantly in Bielsa’s fourth year with the team. But is there really something to the idea that managers only have to work for three years and then go for another try? Bella Guttmann, the former coach of Milan and Benfica, believes this, noting that “the third year fought”, stressing that things begin to collapse for the coach after this limit. “The ideal term for a manager is probably three years,” said Derek Adams, Morecambe (England third tier) manager. After that, it is time to move to a new club. I don’t think any technical director should stay for long. And if it goes on any longer, the club may not be able to move forward, and the same goes for the coach.”
It is certain that many coaches will not announce their approval of this in public, because it would be a “professional suicide”, but some point to the temporary nature of the careers of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho as evidence that they support the theory that the coach He must not have continued any training experience for more than three years.
Ajax coach Ten Hag is the most prominent candidate to lead Manchester United (EPA)
The peak of the three years can be identified in the career of many other coaches who continued training for longer periods, as Tottenham Hotspur under the leadership of Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino reached his best performance ever during the third season, and Rafael Benitez won all his titles as coach of Liverpool In his first three seasons at Anfield, although he continued with the team for six years – although the fierce competition for the English Premier League title in the 2008-2009 season was in his fifth season with the team and he did not succeed in winning.
Prior to taking charge of Manchester City in 2016, the career of Spanish coach Pep Guardiola seemed to follow a similar pattern. After winning three consecutive La Liga titles and two Champions League titles in his first three years as Barcelona manager, the Catalans’ level declined somewhat in the fourth season, as they lost the league title by nine points and were eliminated from the Champions League in the semi-finals. He then completed three years as a technical director for Bayern Munich, before moving to work in the English Premier League.
Even with Manchester City, the teams’ performance declined in the fourth season under Guardiola’s leadership. The team succeeded in obtaining 100 points and 98 points in the Premier League in the second and third seasons for Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, then followed by the team’s 81 points and finishing the season in second place behind champion Liverpool. And last season, 86 points were enough to win the Premier League title. Although this was less than the number of points collected by Manchester City in previous seasons, it is difficult to say that Guardiola is in a slump after his first three seasons.
However, there was a change in the main players of Manchester City at the time, as a number of the most prominent stars of the team left, such as Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, and Fernandinho became less of a role with the team, while other players proved their feet strongly, Like Rodri, Robin Diaz, Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo. Perhaps this example illustrates the fact of the “three-year cycle”, and thus it can be said that it is not the technical directors who have the validity of three years, but the teams themselves that have the validity of three years, while the good technical managers find some way to adapt and rebuild team for the long term.
Perhaps the most notable example of this is Sir Alex Ferguson. In his 27 years at Manchester United, the Scotsman has built – and dismantled – countless great teams, each with very different characteristics. One of his strengths was his ability to recognize when this had to happen, as well as the strength of his character to take decisive action. He had no room for feelings regarding the players who had played well under him in the past, as once there were signs of needing to be replaced, they would be sold and replaced by other players, to be able to make the necessary addition to the team.
Even Ferguson’s coaching career seemed to be going in cycles, as he led Manchester United to three consecutive Premier League titles between 1999 and 2001, and then the team failed to win the title in the 2001-2002 season when it finished third in the table. The 2009-10 season ended in great disappointment (second place in the League, exit in the Champions League quarter-finals, exit in the FA Cup in the third round, despite winning the League Cup) following three Premier League title wins. more consecutive times.
Managers who have achieved sustained periods of success and left their positions at the top have done so by rebuilding their teams, unlike Bielsa, who has been operating in the same way and relying on the same core group of players in his fourth year with Leeds United, and perhaps this lack To renew and rebuild the team is what ultimately cost him his job. Ultimately, this does not mean that technical directors jump ship after three years in the business, Guttmann points out.