Rene Meulensteen has lifted the lid on his Manchester United exit and blamed David Moyes’ downfall on the fact he underestimated the job at hand and chose to ignore advice from those who already at Old Trafford.
The Dutch coach left Manchester United and was replaced by Jimmy Lumsden in a move that surprised plenty but reports at the time suggested Meulensteen chose to leave on his own terms after being offered the job by Moyes.
However, it sounds more like Meulensteen was offered an undermined position he considered untenable, something that came as a consequence of Moyes’ naivety to heed advice which ultimately contributed to his downfall.
“You have to look at Manchester United and the job that David Moyes took on”‚ he said.
“United were a very successful team, with many successful years behind them. The strategies in place worked. But David ignored the advice that was given to him by many of the staff in place at the time.
“He opted to put his own plans in place, which he was perfectly entitled to do, but I think it backfired on him. I always strongly believe the performances and the results are a reflection of what is actually happening behind the door and that wasn’t good enough, as simple as that.
“Don’t forget David was a respected manager in the Premier League who worked for 11 years at Everton in a very good way. But I did warn him: ‘Do you realise, after everything at Everton, you’re going from a yacht to a cruise liner? That’s how big the difference will be.’ It’s not just necessarily the work on the pitch. It’s everything that surrounds Manchester United, the players, the performances, the pressure, the style, the identity. And I think he underestimated that. It’s always easy in hindsight but unfortunately it’s cost him his position.”
Meulensteen’s failures as a manager do not take away from the fact he was an outstanding coach at Manchester United. For Moyes to ignore his advice seemed strange at the time and now looks ludicrous.
Moyes was out of his depth from day one and the fact he chose to stick to his guns was a brave decision that backfired completely. Maybe with a bit more of an open mind, Moyes’ reign could have been different.
“It became very evident to me after a few meetings with David Moyes that he wanted to bring in his own people and do it his own way,” he added.
“I felt very strongly that things would change dramatically for myself and the position I held so I didn’t feel there was a good foundation to carry on.
“It’s too crazy for words. I’ve been part of Manchester United’s backroom staff for the last five years for Sir Alex Ferguson and the last five years have been proven to be the most successful in the history of Manchester United. Now they’ve had a poor season, they have dropped to seventh, out of the Champions League and suddenly, after so many years of constant success, we’re now asking whether Manchester United are good enough to get in the top four. To me, there should be nothing else and that’s probably why the decision has been made because they want to be back [in the Champions League] and next year they want to be challenging for the league title.
Meulensteen also passed judgement on what he felt had to happen this summer and like many before him, has intimated that a summer clearout is necessary for United to return to the top.
He added: “Five, six, seven players [have to be changed] and that’s too much … that is the challenge the club are facing in the summer but I still think United have a fantastic squad and with the right additions can be a force very quickly.”