Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has warned his former club they should be very careful when picking between Jose Mourinho and Ryan Giggs to be their next manager―or risk a lengthy title drought similar to Liverpool's.
The former centre-back thinks the decision on Louis van Gaal's replacement is “huge,” and he fears the wrong choice could have dire consequences, per MailOnline's Jack Gaughan:
I think if they bring someone else in, it is a huge decision because if this doesn’t go right, it could be a long cycle.
We don’t want to be a repeat of what Liverpool have gone through. Manchester United don’t want that long time in the wilderness of not really winning or being successful and not challenging for titles.
That can’t afford to happen at Man United. The problem they’ve got now is who they choose.
Are they going to go for someone who has had success, who knows how to manage teams like Jose Mourinho, or will they go with someone who is already in the house like Ryan Giggs?
That’s the problem they have got and the questions that have to be asked. If I knew the answer to that question, I would be the CEO.
Manchester United have hit a rough patch since longtime manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the role in 2013. Replacement David Moyes lasted less than a year and failed to qualify for a European competition, while Van Gaal has fared little better.
The Dutchman is expected to leave Old Trafford at the end of this season, and both Giggs and Mourinho have been mentioned as possible replacements. The latter has reportedly told friends he already has a deal in place to join the club, per Gaughan.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta, who played under Mourinho during Inter Milan's treble-winning season in 2010, believes the former Chelsea boss is the perfect candidate, as noted by Gaughan in a different MailOnline article:
It takes a brave coach to go there now, but Jose is brave enough.
For the last three seasons Manchester United haven’t been the Manchester United people are used to.
I know there would be pressure on Jose to get United back winning trophies, but that will not bother him.
In my experience Jose doesn’t feel pressure – he has such belief in his abilities.
The Jose that you see in interviews is also the Jose the players see, he really is that confident in himself.
Mourinho's second spell with Chelsea came to an end earlier this season after a horrible start to the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, but last year, he guided the Blues to the title in dominant fashion.
While the Portuguese has his detractors, there's no denying he generally finds success wherever he goes.
Per Gaughan, his style of management remains an issue for some people within Old Trafford, and that was the reason he wasn't handed the job back when Ferguson stood down in 2013.
However, fans and pundits seem desperate for United to land him this time around, including the Manchester Evening News' Samuel Luckhurst:
Only way for #mufc to get back on track is hire Mourinho. Running of the football club has not been good enough since Ferguson left.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) February 1, 2016
Giggs would be a likely alternative, a club legend who already had a short cameo as a player-manager after Moyes was sacked. He has worked as Van Gaal's assistant since 2014 and knows the club and the current squad as well as anyone.
The Welshman would demand the respect of the dressing room, but he has limited experience of managing a club and would face tremendous pressure the moment he accepted the job.
While there are examples of managers with limited experience finding immediate success at a top club―think Pep Guardiola with Barcelona―plenty of inexperienced coaches have cracked under the pressure, such as Filippo Inzaghi at AC Milan last season.
Both potential managers carry significant risks, and after Moyes and Van Gaal, United desperately need to get this next decision right.
It's been 26 years since Liverpool—once the pride of England—last won the country's top division, and that is one example the Red Devils do not wish to follow.