Rio Ferdinand has told ESPN that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho needs time, warning that “this isn’t a Fergie era — it’s a building process.”
United are sixth in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of the top four, but Ferdinand has argued that Mourinho needs one or two more transfer windows as he seeks to get the club back on track following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
The former United defender, who was speaking to his former West Ham teammate Shaka Hislop, said: “He had a massive transfer window in terms of bringing in [Paul] Pogba, [Eric] Bailly, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] but those guys have got to integrate within this team. This isn’t a Fergie era. This is a building process.
“He’s got to build. He’s almost had to take the building down and start again a little bit, in terms of the mentality of the players and actually identifying the right players to come in.
“You could all see beforehand, from David Moyes to Louis van Gaal, that the team weren’t playing or getting the results that Manchester United are accustomed to. So Jose Mourinho has been brought in to try to stabilise and then grow from there.
“I don’t think you can ask any manager — whether it be David Moyes or Louis van Gaal — to come in and just have one year and be judged upon one year. It’s difficult. David Moyes had a very tough time in that respect.
“Jose Mourinho — with the experience he has got at big clubs, winning big trophies, a huge personality — the minimum he deserves is at least one or two more transfer windows to really say ‘this is my team now.’ I don’t think Jose Mourinho can sit there and say: ‘this is my team.’ I don’t think he is there yet.
“Once he is there then there’s no excuses. Until that point, you can still give them a getting-to-know-each-other period and integration.”
There have also been new managerial appointments at other big clubs this summer with Manchester City recruiting Pep Guardiola and Chelsea bringing in Antonio Conte — with both teams currently outperforming United, in terms of results.
Ferdinand said: “The same could be said of a Pep Guardiola team or a Conte team. I just think Conte was starting with a better group of players, a team who had more cohesion and players who had the potential to be more of a team. And we are seeing that now.
“The year before [2014-15], they were champions. The last season gone, they didn’t perform well at all.
“The players that made them champions, [Eden] Hazard and [Diego] Costa, didn’t perform. This season they are performing, within a structure, and they’re top of the league.”
The former United defender thinks that the power of the other sides, including the presence of top managers, has made it challenging for his former club.
Ferdinand said: “We would have all, as Man United fans, dreamed of him coming in, hitting the ground running at the front and looking down on other teams in the league. But, listen, it’s not always like that.
“You’ve got to understand that this league is a very competitive league. Many teams are capable of spending £100 million-plus in the window. And there are top-class players all over the park when these teams hit the field.
“And we’ve got the best managers on the planet here. Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, [Jurgen] Klopp, Conte — four of the best out of probably six [top] managers on the planet right now. They need time to really implement their ideas.
“You’ve got to be partly a fantastic coach but also you’ve also got to have the right blend of players there for that to start straight away, day one.”