Earlier in the season, when Manchester United last faced Watford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was at the helm. He was gone 24 hours later, however, with the Red Devils losing 4-1 on a chastening afternoon at Vicarage Road. And, in the aftermath of his sacking, it emerged Mike Phelan had wanted the club to make two signings.
Manchester United go up against Watford today hoping to take another step in the right direction.
Results and performances have been improving under interim boss Ralf Rangnick of late, boosting their chances of making the top four in the process.
United have won their last two league matches against Brighton and Leeds, while they secured a credible Champions League draw against Atletico Madrid in midweek.
Now, Watford stand in their way as they look to continue their improvement since Solskjaer’s sacking.
This fixture earlier in the campaign was ultimately the Norwegian’s undoing, with the Hornets cruising to a 4-1 victory.
It was a difficult day at the office for United, with their Premier League counterparts superior in every department.
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And that left Solskjaer short, especially in midfield where Kante would have been a magnificent signing capable of galvanising the team.
This summer, United are poised to spend big on an anchorman with the likes of Declan Rice and Ruben Neves linked with moves.
Yet had they signed Kante, that would have enabled them to strengthen other areas of their squad this summer instead.
And Hudson-Odoi, too, would have been a welcome addition.
Particularly when you consider United are currently short on forwards with Mason Greenwood unavailable for selection and the likes of Anthony Martial and Amad leaving on loan.
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Now, as United gear up to face Watford, Phelan is still involved.
And Rangnick shed light on his exact role at the club upon taking over, saying: “Mike Phelan is not watching the training sessions – he also didn’t do that when Ole was in charge.
“But he’s also part of the training group of the staff.”
Solskjaer, meanwhile, gave an emotional farewell interview upon leaving United back in November.
Having won the lot as a player, the Norwegian was ultimately unable to do the same as manager.
And he said: “You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here.
“For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff.
“I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies and I only think it’s right that it comes from the horse’s mouth.
“I don’t want to answer all… there’s going to be journalists asking me about interviews but no, I’m not going to do any interviews.
“I want to get it out there, I’m going to leave by the front door, because I think everyone knows I’ve given everything for this club.
“This club means everything to me and together we’re a good match, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside.”
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