Wayne Rooney said new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will need time from the board and patience from the fans if his squad rebuild is to be successful.
United named Ajax Amsterdam coach Ten Hag as their new manager to succeed interim boss Ralf Rangnick from the end of this season, with the 52-year-old signing a three-year deal.
Ten Hag is the fifth permanent manager to be appointed by United since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and he will be tasked with reviving the fortunes of the Old Trafford club, who are sixth in the Premier League with five matches left.
“It’s a massive job,” said former United striker Rooney, who currently manages Derby County.
“I think it’s good to see now that they have put a manager in that it looks like they are going to give him a bit of time, from what I’ve seen. I’m sure they are going to let him rebuild the squad because that needs to happen. But I think fans have to be a little bit patient with it because it’s not going to change overnight or as quick as you would like.”
United have not won a trophy since winning the Europa League in 2017 and they last won the Premier League title under Ferguson in the 2012-13 season.
“They (fans) need to be a little bit patient as long as they see progression and players working and playing for the shirt, with hopefully a look at trying to challenge for the title in the next three years maybe,” Rooney added.
United play Arsenal tomorrow at the Emirates in a massive match that could make or break both sides’ top-four chances. The Gunners reignited their Champions League bid with a 4-2 win at Chelsea in midweek, while Ralf Rangnick’s United were thrashed 4-0 defeat by Liverpool. Whether Ten Hag was watching is not known but he would have certainly got a good image of the task at hand for him Old Trafford.
United travel to London having posted just two wins in their last seven Premier League matches. They have lost each of their last three away from home and Rangnick’s side are still waiting for their first away Premier League clean sheet since the turn of the year.
Cristiano Ronaldo was not involved in midweek after the tragic death of his newborn son, but the 37-year-old is reportedly back in training and could feature at the Emirates.
For Arsenal, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney remain sidelined but coach Mikel Arteta has no fresh injury concerns.
Meanwhile, Manchester City will aim to move four points clear of Liverpool - who are not in action until Sunday when they face Everton in the Merseyside derby - at the top of the table when they host strugglers Watford at the Etihad Stadium. City won their last match 3-0 over Brighton while Watford lost 2-1 to Brentford.
City could be without Kyle Walker due to an ankle problem, while John Stones and Nathan Ake both picked up issues during the clash with Brighton.
Tottenham will aim to get their top-four charge back on track when they meet Brentford in the London derby but Thomas Frank’s side will be no pushovers.
Former Lilywhites favourite Christian Eriksen - now playing for the Bees - is bound to get a fabulous reception.
Arsenal vs Manchester United
Leicester City vs Aston Villa
Manchester City vs Watford
Norwich City vs Newcastle United
Brentford vs Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 24th April
Brighton vs Southampton
Burnley vs Wolves
Chelsea vs West Ham
Liverpool vs Everton
Monday 25th April
Crystal Palace vs Leeds United