How Man United target Ernesto Valverde’s previous interim spell went

Ernesto Valverde is closing in on the vacant interim manager role at Manchester United.

The club’s football director, John Murtough, is hunting for a new manager, and Valverde is one of his prime candidates. According to the Manchester Evening News, the former Barcelona head coach has already had an initial interview with the club ahead of a potential move.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was relieved of his managerial position earlier this week. A 4-1 loss at the hands of Watford was finally enough for the United board to take action.

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Michael Carrick has stepped up to the role of caretaker manager, and his first game in charge of the ‘Red Devils’ couldn’t have gone any better. United defeated fierce Group F rivals Villarreal 2-0 in an impressive display.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring whilst Jadon Sancho gave the travelling fans something to cheer about by scoring his first goal for the club.

However, United will not make the same mistake twice by offering their former player a permanent contract. Instead, the club is closing in on a new interim head coach.

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Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, The Theatre of Dreams has evolved into an arena of nightmares, and no manager has been able to turn the fearsome tide. But maybe none fitted the role quite as well as Valverde.

Guillem Balagué tweets

Yesterday, esteemed football journalist Guillem Balagué took to social media to make some very valid points about his countryman.

He tweeted: “Ernesto is one of the managers interviewed for the role. He did something similar at Valencia, where he managed for six months and took them to the Champions League. Valverde is remembered as the best manager since Rafa Benitez. With his experience and CV, he could do a job straight away.”

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The 53-year-old added: “The only reason he is not considered a candidate for the long term is his lack of interest in selling himself and showing off the job he has done at Athletic Club, Espanyol, Olympiakos, Barcelona, Valencia.”

“By the way, Valverde speaks good English. He did his first interview in English with me a few years back at Revista De La Liga.”

What did Valverde achieve in Spain?

Valverde took over at a struggling Valencia side and guided them to a third-place La Liga finish. However, the following season the Spaniard was unable to qualify for the Champions League and exited after a 4-3 defeat to Sevilla.

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The former forward returned to management just 19 days later and took over his prior position at Athletic Bilbao. He had massive success at the San Mamés stadium. In his first season, he qualified for the Champions League and took his side on a cup run, culminating in a spot in the Copa del Rey final. The 57-year-old then followed this up with a historic 5-1 aggregate win over Barcelona to win the Supercopa and claim Bilbao’s first piece of silverware in 31 years.

Read: How Ernesto Valverde can revitalise Manchester United in one key area.

Valverde’s impressive tenure at Bilbao earned him the coveted position of Barcelona head coach. The Spaniard won two La Liga titles before his time at the Nou Camp came to an end. However, Valverde is now on the cusp of a new managerial challenge.

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Manchester United are in desperate need of a man who can take control of a sinking ship and somehow keep it afloat.

Valverde’s career has featured both successes and failures. He may have struggled during his second season at Valencia, but his first was a roaring success. Therefore there is a real chance that John Murtough and Darren Fletcher will select the Spaniard to take over at Old Trafford until the end of the campaign.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

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