Rio Ferdinand names Man Utd first-choice candidate who was overlooked for the role


Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed his regret that his former club did not push harder to secure the signing of Antonio Conte last month.

The Red Devils have been linked with several top managers in recent days following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian has been under immense pressure in charge of United recently after three humiliating defeats in the last four Premier League, losing 4-1 to Watford, 2-0 to rivals Manchester City and receiving a 5-0 at the hands of Liverpool .

Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be United’s No.1 target to replace Solskjaer but Ferdinand feels United shouldn’t have turned down the opportunity to appoint Conte before he became Tottenham Hotspur boss.

Rio Ferdinand thinks United made a mistake in not appointing Antonio Conte

Speaking on BT Sport, the former England international said: “When you bring a manager in he has to see progression and someone who you think will take him over a bump has solidified what we have, gave us hope, but when will you go on and win then?

“That’s the difference. You saw it with someone like Klopp.

“He was getting closer, he took the club so far, you could see the fundamentals of the club, the patterns of play, the identity of the football club, it didn’t show here.

“All of these things have to come together to say it’s a long-term project.

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Antonio Conte is now manager of Tottenham Hotspur
Antonio Conte is now manager of Tottenham Hotspur

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“You talk about Conte, whether it’s a long-term project or not, all those fundamentals that we just talked about, the team, the philosophy, the work ethic, that he brings that first day.”

According to Daily Express, United refused to appoint Conte earlier as they feared the Italian was a short-term solution to their woes and would cost them too much to secure his signature.

The Red Devils also feared the volatile and fiery nature of the former Inter Milan boss.

However, Ferdinand believes the 52-year-old would have been able to instill a team-winning mentality in the Old Trafford squad and end their trophy drought; instead, Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo at Spurs and embarked on a long-term project in north London to make the club competitive in the Premier League and on the European stage as well.


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