David Moyes has broken his silence following his dismissal by Manchester United.
The Scot was fired on Tuesday morning after less than 10 months in charge at Old Trafford. It brought an end to a sorry spell at the helm in which he was cast as out of his depth.
The reigning Premier League champions have already failed to qualify for next season's Champions League and experienced disappointment in all the cup competitions.
The statement from Moyes was complimentary of the club, but while the 'staff' and fans were thanked, there was no specific mention of the players.
The task of replacing Ferguson, the most successful British manager in history, was always going to be a tough task - something Moyes touched on in the statement released through the League Managers Association.
“Taking charge after such a long period of continuous stability and success at the club was inevitably going to be a significant challenge," read the statement. "But it was one which I relished and never had a second thought about taking on."
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Despite the undignified manner of his departure, Moyes stated he remains “incredibly proud” and understood the scale of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson from day one.
“To have been appointed as manager of Manchester United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was and remains something of which I will always be incredibly proud.
“The scale of the manager’s job at United is immense, but I have never stepped away from hard work and the same applies to my coaching staff. I thank them for their dedication and loyalty throughout the last season."
The statement continued: “We were fully focused and committed to the process of the fundamental rebuilding that is required for the senior squad. This had to be achieved whilst delivering positive results in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League. However, during this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration.
The next Manchester United manager: Those linked with the Old Trafford hot seat
The next Manchester United manager: Those linked with the Old Trafford hot seat
1/10 Jurgen Klopp
Currently the manager of Borussia Dortmund, Klopp coached his team to the Champions League final in 2013. He also delivered back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12, despite Dortmund being in the financial shadow of Bayern Munich. All of that was achieved while playing a distinctive attractive style of football. After six years at the club, it could be time for the 46-year-old German to move on, however he has already said he is happy to stay.
2/10 Fabio Capello
The former England manager has coached the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma. He now resides over the Russian national team who topped their group in qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to ensure they are at the biggest tournament of them all for the first time since 2002.
3/10 Louis van Gaal
Dutchman Van Gaal will be leading his national side at this year's World Cup in Brazil. He has taken charge of both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the past and won the Champions League in 1995 with Ajax. In total, he has won over 60 per cent of his 780 games in management and he's made it very clear he covets a position in the Premier League. Heavily linked with Tottenham prior to David Moyes' sacking.
4/10 Sir Alex Ferguson
Considering he's at every game anyway, a switch from the stands back to the dug-out doesn't seem inconceivable for Sir Alex Ferguson. It'd certainly be a popular choice among fans having achieved so much success in his long time in charge. The winner of 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League titles, if there's anyone who can succeed Ferguson, it's Ferguson.
5/10 Frank De Boer
Although his managerial experience is relatively small in comparison to other potentials, he has already shown he can win domestically. Since taking over at Ajax in 2010, in his first job as manager, De Boer has won the Eredivisie in three consecutive attempts, with his team currently well clear at the top of the league this season. Has been regularly linked with the biggest vacancies in Europe.
6/10 Antonio Conte
Winner of the Serie A manager of the year in 2011-12 and 2012-13 after leading Juventus to the title in those seasons, as well as a Champions League winners medal to his name as a player, Conte has pedigree. Since taking charge in Turin three years ago, the Italian has returned Juventus to the dominant force in Italy, with the club destined to win their third title in a row this term. That kind of dominance is exactly what United crave.
7/10 Diego Simeone
Simeone has been enjoying much success since taking over at Atletico Madrid. His excellent win rate has seen the club win the Europa League and Super Cup, and against all odds challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona for La Liga title this season. He'd have to hope his history with David Beckham didn't count against him if Manchester United came calling.
8/10 Michael Laudrup
Despite a rather sudden and messy divorce from Swansea City earlier this year, Laudrup did show he was capable of managing at the highest level. He won the League Cup with the Welsh club, the first major trophy in the club's history, and he did it with a brand of football that won many plaudits. A legend as a player, the Dane has the gravitas for such a huge position as Manchester United manager.
9/10 Harry Redknapp
Currently manager of QPR, Redknapp has often been a fan favourite across English football, winning manager of the year in 2009/10 as well as the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008. At one stage he looked a certainty to be the next England manager, only to lose out to Roy Hodgson.
10/10 Ex-United players
If Manchester United were to choose from one of their own, they would have plenty of ex-players to pick from. Ryan Giggs is the most obvious choice after being installed on a temporary basis after Moyes' departure. Others in management who served as a player under Sir Alex Ferguson include Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, both Neville brothers and Steve Bruce. Mark Hughes played for United along with Gordon Strachan and Laurent Blanc. While none of them have particularly overachieved in any of their positions, a former player tends to be popular with fans, and can be rewarded with success.
“In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.
“I have always believed that a manager never stops learning during his career and I know I will take invaluable experience from my time as United's manager. I remain proud to have led the team to the quarter finals of this year's Champions League and I remain grateful to Sir Alex Ferguson for believing in my ability and giving me the chance to manage Manchester United.”
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The LMA’s chief executive Richard Bevan admitted that they were disappointed with the manner of Moyes’ dismissal, including the leaked information on Monday afternoon that the former Everton manager would be sacked imminently before he had even been informed himself.
"The LMA is very disappointed with the nature of David's departure from Manchester United and to read extensive reports in the press, confirming David's sacking, before David himself had been spoken to officially by the club,” Bevan said in the statement.
“Throughout his time at United, David, as he always does, has conducted himself with integrity and professionalism, values that he believes in and that have been strongly associated with the club and its rich tradition. It is therefore sad to see the end of David's tenure at United being handled in an unprofessional manner."
The statement continued: “David is one of the most talented, knowledgeable and dedicated managers in British Football. He has a wealth of experience accumulated in a management career that started when he was 35 and already spans 16 years, with over 800 games in the professional game. David is a three-time winner of the LMA Manager of the Year Award, and without a doubt, he has a significant future in front of him in football management. He is passionate about the game and I know he possesses the drive and resilience to learn from this chapter of his career and move on to a new challenge in the game.”
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