Former Manchester United star Louis Saha has questioned whether Erik ten Hag is ready to take on the job at Old Trafford – believing Zinedine Zidane will immediately earn the respect of the fractured squad.
United will name a new permanent manager this summer with interim boss Ralf Rangnick in charge until the end of the season.
The size of the job at hand was brutally exposed once again on Sunday however as Manchester City took apart their rivals. The result saw City extend their lead at the summit of the Premier League to six points with United dropping out of the top four in the process.
Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag are the two leading candidates to take over at the end of the season.
Ten Hag is said to be Rangnick’s preferred choice to come in – but Saha has warned United is ‘a different animal’ to Ajax and believes some of the squad would simply not know who the Dutchman is.
‘He has quality for sure, the Dutch people are very knowledgeable about football,’ Saha told Metro.co.uk.
‘But I’m sorry, it is a different animal. Ajax is a trampoline for big clubs. They are respected in world football but they are not in that league. This is not Milan or Real Madrid.
‘I am sure that most of the players would not know him. Managing this club is a different thing. We have seen some big names come in and they didn’t make it.
‘Jose Mourinho is one of the biggest in world football, he brought results in terms of winning trophies but we claim it was an unsuccessful spell.’
Zidane, currently without a club after leaving Real Madrid for a second time last May, has also been linked with the post. But while Saha believes his countryman carries the authority to unite and lead the dressing room, he warns there could still be early struggles.
‘I like the idea of Zinedine Zidane because he will get the respect,’ Zidane said, speaking on behalf of FreeBets.com.
‘The problem is the Premier League is so difficult and so hard to adapt to that even he will struggle a little bit I think. The Premier League is a different thing he has never experienced.’
Saha, who made 124 appearances for United, joined in 2003 after Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to the club from Fulham.
While he retired from management in 2013, Ferguson has remained an influential figure at the club and currently sits on the board.
Recent reports have claimed that while Ferguson is said to be in favour of a move for Pochettino, he has recommended the club bring in Carlo Ancelotti if a deal for the Argentine cannot be struck.
And while he admits the game has changed since the legendary Scot left the dugout, Saha insists he should still have a say in major recruitment decisions.
‘If I am a board member or someone involved in this club I will always respect [his opinion],’ Saha said. ‘The only one who really has the right to give advice is that guy.
‘He knows and understands the position better than anyone. He will definitely try to do the best in terms of that recruitment. We all make mistakes. This job is not easy, it is a new era, there are different types of players, different types of agents around them.
‘It is a really tough position and Manchester United is a different animal compared to other clubs. I have great respect for Paris Saint-Germain and the job Mauricio Pochettino is doing and also did with Tottenham but United is a different animal.
‘We need a manager to address the points we have been missing. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did great in terms of rediscovering some quality going forward. But that aggressiveness this club needs is not there.’