I reread this interview again, in light of troubles and the following passages resonated: https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...nterview-buy-players-rooney-tactics-solskjaer What is the problem at Manchester United now? The problem begins with, of course, that Manchester United was never refreshed. I think when you are a manager you have to refresh every year to keep the team-building process going. You brought in players. You tried to refresh. Yes, but I didn’t always get the players that I want. That’s the problem. There is Woodward and his right hand is [head of corporate development] Matt Judge. Judge I met once in a while but not too much. And there was the head of scouting. That was the structure but you are always dependent on Woodward and Judge. Did they not take your advice? I thought always Manchester United can buy every player because they have a lot of power. Seemingly a few players were not reachable for Manchester United. I cannot understand but it was like that Ángel Di María, was he your choice? Di María was my choice at AZ, seven years before. He didn’t sign then. Did you want him for United? Were you happy that he came? I was satisfied, because he was a creative player, but I had other players on the list. Di María had a problem with the English football culture and the climate. You cannot buy players and know, for sure, that they can deliver. You cannot know because football is a team sport. Do you have any regrets about your time with Manchester United? No. The way they sacked me was terrible. But I like my time in England, because of the culture, because of the people. A lot of humour and always supporting the manager. I have respect for everybody I worked with. You said you don’t understand why United have a lot of money and won’t always pay for players. Is that because the Glazers didn’t want to pay? I don’t know. Woodward is the one who talks with the Glazers. I only talked with the Glazers when they were [attending] a game or training session. Mostly they attend top matches and fortunately we won a lot of these top matches, in any case against Liverpool. What does it take to be a perfect technical director or director of football? First of all you need knowledge of the game, methods of training, preparation experience, youth education, scouting and you have to think in structures. So you need a lot of experience in the football world. When you are in your profession as a technical director, you have developed a name, then you have a big network and you can always make use of that network. One person United are interested in to become technical director is Rio Ferdinand. What do you think about this? He was a good player, obviously. As a good player, you’re not a good manager or you’re not a good technical director. It’s more or less what is happening now with [Ole Gunnar] Solskjær, ex-players, old boys’ network. It’s not always a good choice. It can be but it’s not always a good choice. Were you surprised that Solskjær was given the job permanently? I was very surprised he got it in spite of the winning run at the start. Why? Because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world that needs a manager with experience and not a manager who has trained at one or two teams and on a lower level. If you had a blank canvas, how long would it take to sort United out? The trouble is that you cannot demand so much time. And the fans do not allow that. Also with Solskjær, they shall demand in spite of him being an ex-player. In the football world you have to deliver. However as an ex-player you always have more credit. Is it almost impossible then to succeed at these big clubs, at United? I remember your first press conference, you basically said ‘it’s too much commercial, this club’. I’m happy that you remember that. I think you have to change the structure in the organisation of Manchester United because now I think the balance between the football department and commercial department is not right and even slopes over to the commercial. What do you mean by that? What I have experienced is that I must go to the USA before the season and we have to play a lot of matches in a short time. That is a good commercial preparation but not the best for me as a football manager. Everybody was happy except me, because in the USA we won everything, but the first match in the league was a loss: Swansea. That is because every player was exhausted. When you have to start like that, that’s not good. In scouting players, Manchester United don’t have the organisation to deliver the best players in my opinion. Then with the education of players, you cannot say that the education of Manchester United is very good. How many players are coming through? With Manchester United, you have a fantastic performance department and that is under the guidance of the doctor. But this performance department needs also the guidance of an experienced technical director. You have to use that department not only for the first team but also intensively for the youth education. Then young players are more educated in the philosophy of Man United and the big step to the first team is much easier. These are the important aspects that you have to develop as a technical director. I saw as Manchester United manager that the quality of the players of City, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal was better. So what can I do? We were attacking. We were not defending and we were looking for tactical solutions adapted to the level of our players. For example we were provoking space and that was new in England. I think six months ago [Jürgen] Klopp has also seen the light because in former days he was always pressing.