How to revive Red Devils
Our columnist suggests 10 things Man United must do in their rebuilding process
David Moyes' sacking on Tuesday came as no surprise to anyone who had witnessed his Manchester United side's miserable fall from grace this season.
Even the most myopic of Moyes supporters must now realise that his appointment as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson was a terrible mistake.
However, simply removing the manager isn't likely to cure all of United's ills; plenty more big decisions need to be made.
1 APPOINT JUERGEN KLOPP
Juergen Klopp may have ruled himself out for the United job but, if you ask me, he is the ideal candidate to replace Moyes, having worked wonders at Borussia Dortmund on a limited budget.
He is young, vibrant and keen for a new challenge. Klopp has also won major trophies, something that Moyes has failed to deliver in his 16-year managerial career.
2 BACK SHINJI KAGAWA
If Klopp does arrive at Old Trafford, then his former Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa will be elated.
If anyone can get the best out of the two-time Bundesliga Player of the Year, it has to be the man who made the Japanese star such an integral part of his team.
Klopp recently told the Guardian newspaper: "Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at United - on the left wing! My heart breaks.
"Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji's best role. We cried for 20 minutes in each other's arms, when he left."
3 SIGN SEAMUS COLEMAN
The fullback position is no longer a place for steady Eddies like Chris Smalling and Alex Buttner.
To be successful in that role, you need so many more dimensions to your game than simply being able to defend.
Watching Coleman imitate his lookalike Gareth Bale against United last Sunday was a sight to behold.
Dynamic, quick, unbelievably athletic and with a real eye for goal, the marauding Coleman would be the perfect addition to arguably the worst United back four in the Premier League era.
A bit-part player at Everton under Moyes, the Glazers would now need to break the bank to secure his services, but he would surely be worth every penny.
4 GET RID OF DEADWOOD
Apart from David de Gea, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Robin van Persie and Kagawa, offers for any other player in this under-performing United squad should surely be considered.
Seeing Darren Fletcher toil in midfield against Everton was like watching a punch-drunk boxer sparring with an up-and-coming prospect.
It's difficult to think of a single Premier League side who could guarantee the Scot a first-team place, and there are plenty of others who should be frogmarched out of Old Trafford as soon as the final whistle blows on the last day of the campaign.
5 SIGN TONI KROOS
Major surgery is needed in order to improve United's spluttering engine room, and the German international fits the bill perfectly.
United haven't fielded a world-class central midfielder since Paul Scholes was in his pomp, but the 24-year-old Kroos' anticipation, spatial awareness, range of passing and decision-making put him in the very top bracket.
He's failed to agree a new deal with his club Bayern Munich and, by all accounts, he's very much open to the move, so United need to swoop.
6 SWOP WELBECK FOR VERTONGHEN
Danny Welbeck wants to quit United and fancies a move to Tottenham? Great news.
Even better news is the fact that Spurs' best defender Jan Vertonghen is keen to leave White Hart Lane, so if a swop deal can be engineered, then that would represent a real coup for the Red Devils.
The back four of Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Buttner looked like a mid-table defensive unit at best against Everton, and Vertonghen's know-how and quality on the ball would be a serious shot in the arm.
7 SIGN ADAM LALLANA
The quick-thinking, swift-footed midfield magician's play is of such stark contrast to the ponderousness of Michael Carrick, Fletcher and Tom Cleverley that it's like comparing apples with oranges.
After two full seasons in the Premier League, the 25-year-old has grown in stature to such an extent that there's every chance he'll line up alongside Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in England's midfield at the World Cup in Brazil.
For United fans, a midfield unit of Adam Lallana and Kroos with Kagawa just in front of them is surely a mouth-watering prospect.
8 MASSAGE RVP'S EGO
Rumours have been circulating all season that van Persie is unhappy at Old Trafford and that Edinson Cavani is being lined up as a replacement.
United should keep the cash in the bank and do everything possible to make the Dutch striker smile again.
The Red Devils need to hit the ground running at the start of next season, and bedding in a new No. 9 could prove problematic.
By contrast, RVP is 30, in his prime, knows the EPL inside out, and has bagged 126 goals in his last 177 games.
9 SIGN ASHLEY COLE
Whatever anyone says about Ashley Cole, the veteran left back is a proven winner and that type of character is exactly what United need.
The fact that Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton have all done the double over United this season says everything about their current malaise.
Cole is clearly unwanted at Chelsea and would surely relish a last hurrah at a massive club who are almost guaranteed to improve next season.
Let's face it, they can't get any worse. Coleman and Cole as fullbacks with Vertonghen marshalling the central position would immeasurably improve this United side.
10 BRING BACK BEBE
No, that's not a misprint. Widely regarded as Sir Alex Ferguson's worst signing until his anointment of David Moyes, Bebe has managed just a handful of appearances for United since his controversial move to Old Trafford in 2010.
However, 10 goals in 24 appearances during a loan spell with struggling Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira have attracted interest from champions-elect Benfica.
With a year still to run on his United contract, why not give the improving forward a final opportunity to prove himself?
It's a long shot, but it's also a no-lose situation.
United hit back at critics
Manchester United have refuted claims they handled David Moyes' dismissal in an "unprofessional" manner.
Moyes, sacked on Tuesday just 10 months into a six-year contract, was happy to concede results were not up to scratch when he spoke about his dismissal for the first time on Wednesday.
Press Association Sport understands the former Everton manager was far from happy about the way rumours surrounding his imminent departure started spreading before he was sacked.
Reports started emerging on Monday afternoon that Moyes was set to be axed - some 16 hours before he was informed at a meeting with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on Tuesday morning that his contract was being terminated.
League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive Richard Bevan accused United of failing to handle Moyes' sacking correctly.
He said: "The LMA is very disappointed with the nature of David's departure from Manchester United and to read extensive reports in the press, confirming David's sacking, before David himself had been spoken to officially by the club.
"Throughout his time at United, David, as he always does, has conducted himself with integrity and professionalism, values that he believes in and that have been strongly associated with the club and their rich tradition.
"It is therefore sad to see the end of David's tenure at United being handled in an unprofessional manner."
United quickly dismissed the allegation. A club spokesman said: "We do not accept that it was handled in an unprofessional manner.
"The decision was not taken until late Monday night and was communicated face-to-face first thing on Tuesday morning.
"When reports started emerging on Internet news sites on Monday afternoon, no decision had been taken at that time."
Moyes thanked his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, his coaching staff, the fans and workers at the club's training ground and Old Trafford in his statement. However, there was no "thank you" to the players.
The Scot said: "During this period of transition, performances and results have not been what Manchester United and its fans are used to or expect, and I both understand and share their frustration."
Interim manager Ryan Giggs is expected to hold his first press conference today.
The search for a permanent successor to Moyes is underway, with Louis van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti currently among the bookmakers' favourites. - PA Sport.