Gary Neville has played down the idea of Antonio Conte replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the next manager of Manchester United.
Solskjaer is under scrutiny again after Man Utd lost to Leicester City on Saturday. With fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City coming up – as well as a Champions League double header with Atalanta – it could be a critical few weeks for his job security.
Man Utd officials continue to back him publicly, but some fans are growing dissatisfied and are thinking of who could replace the former striker.
One name who regularly comes up in conversation is Conte, who has been out of work since leaving Inter Milan in the summer.
Conte led Inter to the Serie A title last season, but their financial woes forced them to go their separate ways. The former Chelsea boss will remain an attractive idea for clubs considering a change while he remains out of work – if anyone is willing to cover his huge wages.
Man Utd are among the calibre of club capable of appointing him if they were to move on from Solskjaer. But Neville cannot see it happening.
“Conte won’t be the manager at Manchester United I don’t think,” he said on Instagram Live (as quoted by the Metro).
“I don’t think they’ll go for that option, personally. He’s a great manager but I think certain managers fit certain clubs and I don’t think Conte fits United personally.
“As I say, great manager but doesn’t feel right for me that one.”
One viewer suggested that Conte was a potential title winner with the right squad. But Neville looked back to the days of Jose Mourinho to explain why that wasn’t necessarily a good idea.
“I’m not in to that, giving someone a squad,” Neville said. “We tried that with Jose, ‘Give Jose a squad and we’ll definitely win the league’.
“We didn’t, and in the end it was a mess and everybody wanted him out.”
Other suggestions for the United job included Brendan Rodgers (currently of Leicester City) and Zinedine Zidane (out of work since leaving Real Madrid).
But again, Neville does not think either would necessarily improve things. In fact, he is worried the club could run the risk of focusing too much on bringing others in without much reward.
“Brendan Rodgers to United? No that won’t happen either,” he responded. “Managed Liverpool before, I don’t think they would go for Brendan – who again is a great manager.
“Will Zidane come? Not sure. We’re just speculating now, throwing names in the air.
“It’s like when you’re making soup and you taste it having put a load of ingredients in and it’s not particularly great and then you just start adding stuff thinking it’s going to make it better. It’s definitely not going to make it better.”
Neville doesn’t expect Solskjaer sack
Solskjaer’s former teammate reiterated his faith in the current incumbent of the United manager’s post.
Neville refused to call for Solskjaer to leave and thinks the club officials will be sharing his own opinion, rather than that of those calling for the coach to be dismissed.
“The club won’t sack him,” Neville insisted. “The club will stick with him. The fact that they’ve had those experiences with [David] Moyes and with Jose and [Louis] van Gaal, I think they’ll stick to plan.
“Ole is under pressure but they won’t sack him; there’s no doubt about that. I know that won’t please some of you. I know some of you want a new manager.
“I’ve never asked for a Premier League manager to be sacked in the 11 years since I stopped playing football and that’s not going to happen now.
“Let’s not panic here. There’s no need to panic. Everyone will want Manchester United to panic. There’s nothing that can be fixed in the next 10 minutes. Stick to plan, get though the season, see what happens this season.
“Obviously if then there isn’t a trophy or it continues to go as it is, then Ole will come under great pressure. He knows that, having been in the job for three-and-a-half years at that time.”Internet Explorer Channel Network