Rene Meulensteen reveals disappointment at Man Utd exit & explains what Erik ten Hag is ‘bringing back’

The former Manchester United coach followed Sir Alex Ferguson out the door in 2013, as David Moyes appointed his own staff.
Rene Meulensteen spoke exclusively to ManchesterWorld about his exit from Manchester United in 2013 and what has gone wrong in the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure.Rene Meulensteen spoke exclusively to ManchesterWorld about his exit from Manchester United in 2013 and what has gone wrong in the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure.
Rene Meulensteen spoke exclusively to ManchesterWorld about his exit from Manchester United in 2013 and what has gone wrong in the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure.

Rene Meulensteen has told ManchesterWorld that he remains ‘disappointed’ at how he left Manchester United in 2013, following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Dutchman spent 12 years at United as a coach and between 2007-2013 played an integral role in the club’s most successful era, as the Red Devils won four league titles, a Champions League and two League Cups.

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But when Ferguson departed Old Trafford a decade ago, he was followed swiftly by several members of his coaching staff - including Meulensteen - as David Moyes appointed his own men. However, the latter’s spell at United was short-lived and he was sacked before the end of the season.

Speaking to ManchesterWorld ahead of the release of his autobiography, United, Sir Alex and Me: My life in football, Meulensteen explained how in his opinion, a lack of planning led to the club’s demise.

Asked about his exit from United, the 59-year-old said: “Yeah I am disappointed in a way at how it all panned out because you think the club would think ‘what are we going to do when he does go?’. 

“The succession plan has to come from somewhere else, it has to come from the owners and other people in the club. You have to ask, was it right for Manchester United? Hindsight is an easy thing and a great thing when you can look back and it’s easy to say ‘I told you so’. Everybody wanted one thing, me included, and that was the best for Manchester United - to remain successful even with a different manager. 

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“That was the disappointing thing that I felt - that not just me, Mike Phelan, Tony Strudwick, Eric Steele, everyone who was a part of that organisation that helped Sir Alex Ferguson and the players to be so successful -  that sort of got dismantled. That was the biggest disappointment of all. Obviously 10 years on we look back and think it’s a little bit sad to see it has unfolded in that way.”

Since Ferguson’s departure, United have lagged behind the Premier League and Europe’s top clubs, but Meulensteen feels new manager Erik ten Hag is starting to restore some of the values that made the club so successful in the ‘90s and ‘00s.

“Under Sir Alex Ferguson, there are two words which spring to mind that every successful organisation has: stability and consistency. Consistency is about how you want to be successful over the short, medium and long term. The stability is created by the staff. That has been replaced with inconsistency, in terms of the amount of managers that have come in.

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“Every manager has got his own views and his own background and brings his own staff. There was a constant renewal of staff coming in with new ideas that people have to get used to, and new styles of play. But inconsistency is the big word.

“That is the hardest thing to bring back and Erik ten Hag is working really hard to get continuity and stability, but that comes with time. You don’t get that over one season. That’s over a number of years to get that back. Hopefully the results will come and United will get back to winning titles.”

Rene Meulensteen spent 12 years as a Manchester United coach.Rene Meulensteen spent 12 years as a Manchester United coach.
Rene Meulensteen spent 12 years as a Manchester United coach.

Meanwhile, Meulensteen admitted he would never rule out a United return one day. “It would always interest me and I would always consider it, depending on what it is,” he said.

“It’s not a frustration from me at all. You have to accept that at some point you move on and I have moved on and the last five years with Australia have been an exceptional chapter in my career as well.

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“But in football you never say never and never close the door on anything. That was just a situation that played out in a certain way that I felt it wasn't right to stay because of the changes that were taking place. But it’s a club that will always be a big part of my life and will always be in my heart.”

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