Manchester United appoints Marcelo Bielsa as interim manager

(New York) – Manchester United has named Marcelo Bielsa as interim manager as the Italian admits to feeling uncomfortable working under the involvement of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The highly-experienced head coach of the Ligue 1 side Deportivo la Coruna has been handed the post until the end of the season and is free to speak to managers from English Premier League clubs for a permanent post if he takes the job.

“Of course, I am not going to say who I’m planning to approach but I hope to be able to talk to a few managers,” Bielsa told ESPN. “I’m not going to go after just a few.”

The new structure at Old Trafford under executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward began before the season started but uncertainty over Mourinho’s future persisted until the Portuguese was sacked last week.

Bielsa admitted working with Woodward, who had taken the measure to implement a coaching structure that was lacking under previous chief executive Ed Woodward, will be difficult for him.

“It is strange. I know the guidelines but it is weird to have this relationship,” he said. “I am not good at being inside the company, very much outside.

“I had not been happy with the policy of importing coaches but under these new circumstances I will have to think of myself and it will be very difficult.”

Mourinho had been in charge of United for two seasons with some successes but he could not improve on last season’s fifth-place finish.

Woodward met with members of the senior coaching staff, including long-serving head coach Alex Ferguson’s former backroom staff, prior to Mourinho’s sacking.

“Mr Woodward is regarded as one of the finest in the game,” Bielsa said. “Ed Mourinho, perhaps, was the best manager of recent times and we both see the game very differently.

“I will adapt. It is not my usual practice to do interviews to British media so I want to make a personal impression,” he said.

Antonio Valencia’s miserable run in the United defense appears to have contributed to Mourinho’s frustration in front of goal, with the left-back sending two penalties, one over the bar and the other well saved, straight at Deportivo goalkeeper Antonio Adan in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat.

Alexis Sanchez gave the visitors the lead but goals from Roque Mesa and Mario Suarez secured victory for Deportivo, with Mourinho slamming his players’ defending after the game.

“They are not top European teams but they lost twice at home,” he said. “Our fault was conceding two goals to a team that deserves to be in the top half.

“We have to take the responsibility, in the first half we were better than them.”

Man United are currently in second place behind Manchester City, who are winless in their first three league games under new manager Pep Guardiola.

Woodward, a confidant of former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, is a managing director of United, based at Old Trafford. He reports to the Manchester club’s American owners.

Mourinho was appointed Jose Mourinho on the order of the Glazer family in the summer of 2016. The former Chelsea boss joined the club that season having guided Madrid to two league titles and two Champions League titles.

His dismal display this season contrasts with the performances of many past managers during his tenure at Old Trafford, with figures as varied as Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal all underwhelming.


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