Premier League

Moyes will help find replacement

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Fri, 10 May 2013 18:22:00

Jose Mourinho has backed David Moyes to be a success at Manchester United and admits he was honoured that Sir Alex Ferguson rang him personally to tell him he was retiring.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho paid tribute to Ferguson, who will step down at Old Trafford at the end of the season after more than 26 years in charge, and admits the landscape of the Premier League will be different without him around.

"When Sir Alex called me to give me the honour of knowing from him his decision, I was surprised and sad," the Real Madrid boss said.

"At the same time, I was happy to feel his emotion, and pride for such an amazing career.

"It will be difficult for me, and I think all managers, to go to Old Trafford and play against Manchester United, without this mythical figure waiting for us.

"I think David is a great choice. I like him as a person, I like his character as a manager. I believe Manchester United will support him, I think he has the qualities to do a good job.

"I wish Sir Alex a happy life, and I wish David a successful career at Old Trafford."

Mourinho was second favourite to take over from Ferguson for a while after Wednesday's announcement, but he said the Old Trafford position was not discussed and he gave another broad hint what his next club will be.

"We are good friends, and my good friends know which club I would like to manage when I finish my work at Real Madrid," Mourinho added.

He was also asked if he would tune in when Ferguson takes charge of his last match at Old Trafford on Sunday, and said: "No, certainly not - no, I don't want to cry!"

Sir Alex Ferguson will take charge of his final game at Old Trafford on Sunday before addressing the crowd following the Premier League encounter with Swansea.

It promises to be an emotional day, with the Scot's 13th championship trophy also to be collected, and feelings will be heightened because of the sudden nature of his exit.

So far, the man himself has handled the situation in the same clear-sighted way his manages his team.

"He said: 'I've got to tell you, I'm doing this, this is why I'm doing it.' And that's it," Darren Ferguson told twentyfour7football.com.

"His last game on Sunday at Old Trafford could be a bit emotional because it's my dad, it is what it is, no one will ever replace him. But he's ready to go."

Most assume the decision has something to do with the 71-year-old's health given he has always said that would be the determining factor in any decision to quit and it was confirmed last week he would have a hip operation in the summer.

However, Darren Ferguson is adamant that is not the case.

"There's no problem with his health, contrary to what some people are saying," he said.

"He's got a small hip operation but there's no difference to most 71-year-olds. It's not a health decision.

"Basically he feels he's gone out at the right time, he's left the club in a fantastic position and they've hired a very good manager to replace him."

That manager is, of course, David Moyes.

The Everton boss is going to see out the season on Merseyside and made it clear he did not wish to speak about United at a press conference to preview his own club's encounter with West Ham on Sunday.

However, as has been demanded of all other top flight bosses over the past 48 hours, Moyes was asked what he felt about Ferguson's exit, which, despite the obvious personal interest, he insists caught him by surprise.

"I don't think anyone thought the day would come when Sir Alex Ferguson retired," he said.

"We all thought he was superhuman.

"I didn't know anything about it. But I do know he will be sorely missed. The respect he is held in is beyond any real words.

"He has always been someone I have admired, then started to compete against. That was daunting enough.

"Everyone has great admiration for him. Any words I say won't do it justice because of what the man has done."

By next August, Moyes will be doing his job, coaching a team from a dug-out facing the stand that bears Ferguson's name, knowing outside there is a statue that stands in acknowledgement of the incredible number of trophies he has won.

Yet skipper Nemanja Vidic feels the transition will work out just fine.

"I am looking forward to working with David and I believe I will have the same success I had with Sir Alex," Vidic told www.manutd.com

"David and Sir Alex share some similarities - they are very passionate, they are both winners and you can see the way they approach the games and how they run things."

It has been suggested Moyes will work his new charges hard in training but that merely ties in with the regime that is about to reach its glorious end.

"David Moyes did a great job with Everton," said Vidic.

"He is the man who gets his players to work hard and show discipline.

"He did that well with Everton because in the last few years they've been successful in getting into the top six."

Sir Alex Ferguson's last Old Trafford team selection is awaited with interest.

He has been saying for some time now he hoped to have Paul Scholes available, which would mean the pair could say goodbye together given the 38-year-old is expected to retire at the end of the season.

Wayne Rooney may also be involved despite asking to leave for a second time a fortnight ago.

There was less than 36 hours between Sir Alex Ferguson announcing his decision to retire and Moyes' appointment as Manchester United's new boss, underlining the speed with which the United hierarchy wanted to get the succession issue settled.

For Kenwright, the process is going to take slightly longer.

Wigan's Roberto Martinez has already been ousted as favourite by Neil Lennon, whose performances in the Champions League with Celtic this season offers an experience at the highest level even Moyes cannot match.

However, such is the mature manner in which Moyes has handled his own exit, his relationship with Kenwright remains strong enough to have significant input, just as Ferguson did in United's decision to go after his fellow Scot.

"I'll help Everton as much as I possibly can," said Moyes. "Walter Smith recommended me for the job here and if there is anything I can do to help Bill Kenwright with what happens next I will be more than happy to do so.

"It is a great opportunity. Everton is a well run club and we don't get ourselves into too much trouble.

"There is a brilliant training ground and a great set of players with a terrific attitude. Whoever comes in is coming into a really good environment."

The situation is different to the one he inherited 11 years ago.

Though Moyes offers Smith the credit for stabilising a club who had flirted with relegation far too often, he needed to ensure the Merseyside outfit were consistently pushing towards the top end of the table.

He has managed it too, and would be hot favourite to land a European spot had clubs from outside the top five - Swansea and Wigan - not managed to win the Capital One Cup and reach the FA Cup final respectively, claiming those Europa League berths for themselves.

"When I took over we were bobbing along not far off the bottom of the Premier League," said Moyes. "Now, it is a club that, on Sunday, will still be competing to be in Europe. That is a big thing."

It is one of the reasons why there was never any real doubt Moyes would be able to complete the final two games of the campaign, despite announcing he was joining a club Everton fans have not always been well disposed to.

The last player to make the switch to Old Trafford from Goodison Park, Wayne Rooney, received tough receptions whenever he returned - he was even abused by a sponsor on one occasion - although, after nine years, the ire has now quelled.

For Moyes though, it was important his exit was handled properly, and to that end, he has done a superb job.

"Hopefully on Sunday the fans will react in the same way they did when I first stepped through the door," he said.

"You can never tell with football fans. They support their team and I would understand it if they weren't happy.

"But I will be standing in the same position as I always have done, trying to see if we can keep everything focussed and moving in the right direction.

"The fans have always been great to me. It is 11 years since my first game against Fulham but I remember it as though it was yesterday.

"I was a relative unknown coming from Preston, but they got behind me.

"It's not normal nowadays that a manager stays in their job for 11 years. If I hadn't had their backing it wouldn't have happened."

And so Moyes prepares for what he calls a "short cheerio", knowing the emotion that will come from all sides of a famous old stadium.

"I really enjoy the people I work with," he said. "I enjoy Goodison.

"It is an old lady of a football stadium, which can be raucous on its day.

"It has been such a big part of my life. But another way of looking at it is that I might have been sacked and the whole story would have been different.

"I think you accept as a manager that, at some time, you are going to have to leave.

"I always hoped that when I left Everton I would be able to walk back through the front door."

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