Steve Bruce: Manchester United’s transition dragging out, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Steve Bruce: Manchester United’s transition dragging out

Newcastle boss says moving on from Ferguson has taken longer than expected

Ex-Manchester United defender Steve Bruce believes his former team's transitional period since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement "has lasted longer than anyone would've thought".

Ferguson, the English Premier League's most successful manager, exited Old Trafford in 2013 and, in the ensuing six years, United have cycled through David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer without much success.

The latest managerial incumbent, Solskjaer, has struggled to eke out any consistency from his eighth-placed side, who followed up impressive wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City with a draw against struggling Everton and defeat by bottom-placed Watford on Sunday.


Bruce's Newcastle United are next up for United on Friday morning (Singapore time), having already upset them 1-0 at St James' Park in October.

He said: "They are going through a transitional period that has lasted longer than anyone would've thought, following Sir Alex.

"Make no mistake, they will be pushing in the right way again. It's just a matter of time.

"Man United weren't at their best yesterday but Watford were excellent. They were disappointing yesterday but that is always a danger sign."

Despite United's woeful performance in the 2-0 defeat by Watford at Vicarage Road, which Solskjaer likened to a testimonial match, there was a silver lining in the return of Paul Pogba.

The Frenchman, who has been absent since late September, showed glimpses of the ability to unlock an organised and compact side - something the Red Devils have been sorely lacking this season.

In the 26 minutes Pogba was on the field, United took 10 shots, three more than they had in the 64 minutes before that.

The 26-year-old took two of those shots, both of which were on target, and had 90 per cent pass accuracy.


Former United defender Gary Neville said on Sky Sports: "Pogba is Manchester United's best player, let's be clear about that...

"The big question mark is over his long-term future because a large part of me feels he wants to play football elsewhere.

"He's the best player at the club, so it doesn't surprise me that they create more when he's on the pitch.

"I'd be delighted if Pogba is at the club for the next two or three years.

"A flying, fit, motivated and committed Paul Pogba is a massive asset to Manchester United, but I don't believe a word his agent says."

Neville's former England teammate Peter Crouch believes the Red Devils should build their team around Pogba.

He wrote in his BBC column: "I know Pogba sometimes brings a lot of unwanted attention with his off-field antics and some United fans are asking: 'Is he worth it?'

"I think if United had a fully-fit Pogba and used him in the right role, some of those supporters would have a very different view.

"Quite simply, he is better than anything else United have got and, if he wants to stay, they should keep him and use him properly by building their team around him."