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What problems have Manchester United faced since Sir Alex Ferguson's exit?

What problems have Manchester United faced since Sir Alex Ferguson's exit?
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A look at United's fortunes in recent years.

Manchester United are on the hunt for a new manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the club's fortunes since Sir Alex Ferguson's long and successful reign came to an end in May 2013.

Best laid plans

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes (right). (PA)
Former Manchester Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson hoped David Moyes, right, would prove a success at Old Trafford. (Martin Rickett/PA Images)

It seemed a natural succession when Ferguson called for the United faithful to get behind new boss David Moyes when he finally called time on his trophy-laden Old Trafford career. Time, though, was a luxury his fellow Scot did not have. Being the man who followed the man was never going to be an easy job, in fact it was almost impossible – with all the best forward planning swiftly laid to waste as results on the pitch just did not stand up to the scrutiny.  Former Holland boss Louis van Gaal replaced Moyes and lasted just less than two years at the club. He was sacked two days after leading United to FA Cup success in 2016 after a reign littered with speculation about his future and reports of dressing room unrest.

One direction

Manchester United's owner Joel Glazer (left) and vice chairman Ed Woodward at Old Trafford. (PA)
Manchester United's owner Joel Glazer, left, and vice chairman Ed Woodward have had tough decisions to make. (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ferguson's departure left a void over all of Old Trafford, but was also the opportunity to look to restructure the club, much like Arsenal did at the end of Arsene Wenger's long reign last summer. However, with no director of football in place, key decisions made in the boardroom would again ultimately play out on the pitch. The choice of managers to come in following Moyes' dismissal continued to cause debate and divide the fanbase as United's football style changed again with them.

Transfer Troubles

Despite the spending power of their Premier League rivals, United have continued to invest heavily in the squad in the seasons since Ferguson left. Indeed, under Mourinho the expenditure was more than £400million – not including the 'free transfers' of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez, both on considerable wages, Romelu Lukaku provided another statement signing, while Paul Pogba returned to Old Trafford on a club-record fee. Yet no matter how much cash has been invested, so far no manager has been able to fully recapture the team ethic which was the backbone of Ferguson's era. For every relative successful recruit, others have either failed to deliver, or not been given the time to show their true talents – Angel Di Maria and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are cases in point. The new permanent boss will, of course, want to stamp their own mark on a squad which, on current results, still needs some balance.

Rivals on the rise

Manchester City players lift the Premier League trophy. (PA)
Manchester has been very much blue in recent seasons. (Anthony Devlin/PA Images)

For so long, Arsenal were the main rivals in the Premier League for Ferguson's United, before Roman Abramovich's arrival at Chelsea shifted the powerbase across London. Then along came Manchester City.... The transformation of the blue half of Manchester, however funded, has provided United managers with an extra sense of urgency to keep the noisy neighbours in check. Yet while City have gone on to maintain their place at the very top of the English game, United have been left playing catch up in an effort to mount a sustained title challenge since their last triumph under Ferguson in 2012–13. With Liverpool now having stepped things up again under Jurgen Klopp, the new United boss faces challenges on all sides as the Red Devils try to wrestle back their once established position of dominance.


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Jose Mourinho reacts to the Reds going back ahead during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester United on December 16, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35292489226789
2Liverpool35277179205988
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd35197963501364
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35149124443151
8Watford35148135050050
9Everton35147145044649
10Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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