By William Hill
Last Updated: 7th January 2020
All three Manchester United managers since Sir Alex Ferguson had an aspect of their managerial approach in common, one which Zinedine Zidane might prove a long overdue antidote to.
The former Real Madrid boss is 4/1 second favourite in the betting to be in charge at Old Trafford on the first day of the 2019/20 Premier League season after Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties.
Michael Carrick will act as Red Devils caretaker in the short term, with an interim manager to be appointed to steer the club until the end of the 2018/19.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho – the common downside
All three post-Ferguson bosses appointed by the Red Devils were strict tactical disciplinarians, while they also arrived with a reputation for defensive football.
Moyes’ Everton had always been a pragmatic, well-drilled outfit, while Van Gaal had just arrived off taking an unfancied Netherlands to the World Cup final running on a mixture of counter-attacking and a middle-of-the-park-packing 3-5-2 that made them more than the sum of their parts.
Mourinho, another for whom strict adherence to his way of playing was essential, followed, putting him at loggerheads with stars of the calibre of Paul Pogba, who allegedly disapproved of his particularly prescriptive management style.
Sir Alex may have been a fearsome disciplinarian in some respects, but not to the extent that he failed to get the best out of the players at his disposal.
Why Zidane could be the perfect antidote
When the Frenchman was first linked with the United hotseat, it had seemed to some that Old Trafford had been seduced by his silverware haul at Santiago Bernabeu, failing to acknowledge the lack of, by modern standards, a distinctive style of play.
However, in a sense, this could well be exactly what the Reds’ talented squad needs to reclaim responsibility for expressing their gifts on the pitch.
Zidane-ball may not have been recognisable to the same degree as tiki-taka or Tony Pulis, but it succeeded in forging a winning team from the ranks of world-class talent at his disposal.