Rio Ferdinand names first choice Man Utd candidate who was overlooked for role

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed his regret that his former club did not try harder to secure the signature of Antonio Conte last month.

The Red Devils have been linked with several top-quality managers in the past few days following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian came under immense pressure at the helm of United recently following three humiliating defeats in the past four Premier League, losing 4-1 to Watford, 2-0 to rivals Manchester City and receiving a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Liverpool.

Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly United’s no.1 target to replace Solskjaer, but Ferdinand feels that United should not have turned down the opportunity to appoint Conte before he became Tottenham Hotspur boss.

Speaking on BT Sport, the former England international said: “When you get a manager in, they need to see a progression and someone who you think will get them over a hump, has solidified what we've got, given us hope, but when are you going to go on and win then?

"That's the difference. You saw that with someone like Klopp.

"He was getting close, he brought the club so far forward, you could see the fundamentals in the club, the patterns of play, the identity in the football club, that wasn't seen here.

"You need all those things to marry up together to say it's a long-term project.

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"You talk about Conte, whether he's a long-term project or not, all those fundamentals we just talked about, the team, philosophy, work ethic, he brings that day one.”

According to the Daily Express, United refused to appoint Conte sooner as they feared that the Italian would only be a short-term resolution for their woes and would cost them too much to secure his signature.

The Red Devils were also fearful of the ex-Inter Milan boss’ volatile and fiery nature.

However, Ferdinand believes that the 52-year-old would have been able to instil a winning mentality squad into the Old Trafford outfit and end their trophy drought; instead, Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo at Spurs and has embarked on a long-term project in north London to make the club competitive in the Premier League and on the European stage as well.

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