Ferguson tips Mourinho as Manchester United successor

Sir Alex Ferguson believes experience will be the key element when it comes to naming his successor as Manchester United manager.

Ferguson has tended to shy away from talk of his retirement plans, although son Darren did recently claim his father might walk away should he add another European Cup to his impressive CV and overtake Liverpool's current record of 18 league titles.

Health permitting the United boss does not expect there to be a vacancy at Old Trafford for another two or three years, but he does feel his replacement will need to be vastly experienced.

"I am glad it is not my decision," he told CNN.

"But whoever it is, it needs to be someone with experience.

"Manchester United is a massive club. The club I joined in 1986 is nothing like the one it is today."

Clearly, Jose Mourinho would fit the criteria, given the trophy-laden time he has spent with Porto, Chelsea and now Inter Milan.

The problem is candidates come and go very quickly.

It is not that long ago Steve McClaren was talked about as a potential successor. The same is also true of Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, neither of whom are even in the management game just now.

"I like Jose Mourinho," said Ferguson.

"He is a good guy and someone I get on very well with.

"But people forget how quickly the game changes. The job of a football manager is a pretty fragile one.

"You can be on the very top of the world and then after two defeats you are the worst team ever.

"Hopefully I will be here for another two or three years. Who knows what will have happened in that time.

"Thinking about Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger or whoever is going to be impossible."

What Ferguson is adamant about is that his health will dictate how long he carries on, not the chase to equal Liverpool's trophy haul.

"I am 67 now," he said.

"At the moment I am still healthy and enjoying my job. If that was different I would quit immediately.

"But winning a specific trophy does not come into it.

"I would love this club to win more European trophies. We definitely should have at least a couple more.

"But just by being in so many semi-finals and quarter-finals, it shows you how hard it is to win."