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Zidane remains Saha's dream Man Utd manager as former striker calls for Red Devils harmony

By Tom Patey

London, Jan 2: Louis Saha dreams of Manchester United appointing Zinedine Zidane but insisted the club's players must respect whichever manager is in place if they are to succeed.

United have underwhelmed in the first half of the Premier League season, sitting in seventh under the interim management of Ralf Rangnick after the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Former RB Leipzig coach Rangnick has overseen three wins and a draw in his opening four league games, but is only in temporary charge until the end of the season when the potential for a two-year consultancy role will come into play.

United have already confirmed they will seek out a long-term replacement at the end of the season, which could still end up being the German manager, with the likes of Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino being proposed by many as the leading candidates.

Saha placed his backing in fellow Frenchman Zidane, who has been without a club since leaving Real Madrid last May, as the former United striker outlined the sort of appointment he believes the club requires.

He told Stats Perform: "I feel like anyone who has proved in some way in some capacity, I think Pochettino is one of them.

"But anyone who has proved that you can build a team and make them improve in a way to win the Premier League as [Jurgen] Klopp has done, I think will have the job.

"We need to have the right manager who is able to really give that boost. We've seen this with Ralf on the touchline, that kind of energy, those guys, especially when you have three-quarters of the squad that is quite young – you need to have someone with that kind of energy.

"I don't want to put Pochettino above anyone. In my dream, I think about Zidane. There are definitely good names that I've heard in the last few weeks.

"But yes, those are names and the most important is the fit where there is a project. Whoever is coming is not coming for two years because you want to attach his name to a big club."

Saha knows what it takes to win at Old Trafford, given he collected two Premier League titles and a Champions League triumph during his time in Manchester under Alex Ferguson between 2004 and 2008.

Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of United's key figures this campaign, but the pair were labelled as "whingebags" negatively influencing their team by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville following a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United.

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes quashed any talk of discontent within the Red Devils dressing room as he stated his client's happiness on Friday and Saha believes United's managerial success will be built on respect.

"The formula I've seen that works is because you show respect and you have a very strong man-management," he added. "Ferguson at the time when I've seen that he had so many challenges because you get so much ego in the team.

"People with a lot of trophies like Roy Keane, like Gary Neville, [Paul] Scholes or [Ruud] van Nistelrooy and you have the youth come in and have that sense of urgency, they want to win, they want to play and all those things.

"You have to really show as much respect as strength and at the same time, humility. It's a very odd combination, but it's very important you have to really show that you are confident, strong.

"You need the support of everybody because the project is a team thing. So those are the ways to manage because everyone will give them respect. If you miss this thing. You're in trouble."

Asked whether Saha thought that was United's current problem with leadership, he responded: "Yeah, definitely. That's not a problem about talent. That's not a problem about not winning.

"They want to win, but they don't have the formula, the people around who give them the right indication."

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Story first published: Sunday, January 2, 2022, 5:10 [IST]
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