Soccer

Andrew Cole believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe will need time to turn Man Utd around

Ratcliffe has laid out his plans to restore United to their former glory at the top of English football within “two or three seasons”.

Andrew Cole believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s desired transformation at Old Trafford will take longer than planned
Andrew Cole Andrew Cole believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s desired transformation at Old Trafford will take longer than planned (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Manchester United striker Andrew Cole believes it could take Sir Jim Ratcliffe longer than three years to turn the club into genuine Premier League title challengers.

Ratcliffe has laid out his plans to restore United to their former glory at the top of English football within “two or three seasons” after becoming their co-owner earlier this week.

Cole, who won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League during his eight seasons as a player with United, told the PA news agency: “It’s going to take time.

“It could possibly take longer than three years, we have to be very honest.

“We’re what, 11 years in now (since United were last crowned Premier League champions)?

“If we look at ourselves now, we’re still in the same position and if he’s going to turn it around in three years he’s going to have to go some. But change is good.”

Cole, attending an event held by United’s official hydration partner WOW HYDRATE, said it has taken both Liverpool and Manchester City “six or seven years to lay their foundations”.

“They’ve had managers in place for the long term and have bought well in the transfer market. That’s what we have to do,” he said.

Andrew Cole spent eight years as a player at Old Trafford (Manchester United handout)
Andrew Cole spent eight years as a player at Old Trafford Andrew Cole spent eight years as a player at Old Trafford (Manchester United handout)

“As long as Pep Guardiola stays at City it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to beat them to the Premier League title.

“I think it could change at Liverpool due to the fact that Jurgen Klopp leaves at the end of the season.

“They could find themselves in the same position as Manchester United are in, starting all over again, new manager, fresh ideas.”

United won their first major trophy since 2017 last season under manager Erik ten Hag, but Cole is undecided on whether the Dutchman is the right man for the job.

“You’re only the right man if you keep winning football matches,” the former United forward said. “Once you don’t win football matches, you’re not the right man. Football will never change.”

Five straight wins in all competitions have eased the pressure on Ten Hag, with £72million summer signing Rasmus Hojlund playing a key role.

Hojlund has scored eight goals in his last eight appearances after a slow start to his United career and Cole is delighted for the 21-year-old Denmark striker.

“A lot was expected of him, but it was always going to take time in this United team,” Cole added. “But fair play to him. He took a bit of flak, but he never hid.

“A lot is expected of a young man to come in and be Manchester United’s main goalscorer.

“Many players have come before him to Old Trafford and failed and I like the way he’s gone about his business recently.”